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upper1

[uhp-er] /ˈʌp ər/
adjective
1.
higher, as in place, position, pitch, or in a scale:
the upper stories of a house; the upper register of a singer's voice.
2.
superior, as in rank, dignity, or station.
3.
(of places) at a higher level, more northerly, or farther from the sea:
the upper slopes of a mountain; upper New York State.
4.
(often initial capital letter) Stratigraphy. denoting a later division of a period, system, or the like:
the Upper Devonian.
noun
5.
the part of a shoe or boot above the sole, comprising the quarter, vamp, counter, and lining.
6.
an upper berth.
7.
a gaiter made of cloth.
Compare gaiter (def 1).
8.
Usually, uppers.
  1. an upper dental plate.
  2. an upper tooth.
9.
Informal. the higher of two bunks or berths.
Idioms
10.
on one's uppers, Informal. reduced to poverty; without sufficient means:
They are on their uppers but manage to hide the fact from their friends.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English; see up (adj.), -er4
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for on ones uppers

upper

/ˈʌpə/
adjective
1.
higher or highest in relation to physical position, wealth, rank, status, etc
2.
(capital when part of a name) lying farther upstream, inland, or farther north: the upper valley of the Loire
3.
(capital when part of a name) (geology, archaeol) denoting the late part or division of a period, system, formation, etc: Upper Palaeolithic
4.
(maths) (of a limit or bound) greater than or equal to one or more numbers or variables
noun
5.
the higher of two objects, people, etc
6.
the part of a shoe above the sole, covering the upper surface of the foot
7.
on one's uppers, extremely poor; destitute
8.
(informal) any tooth of the upper jaw
9.
(slang) Also called (esp US) up. any of various drugs having a stimulant or euphoric effect Compare downer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for on ones uppers

upper

adj.

c.1300, originally comparative of up. Cf. Middle Dutch upper, Dutch opper, Low German upper, Norwegian yppare. Noun meaning "part of a shoe above the sole" is recorded from 1789; sense of "stimulant drug" is from 1968. Upper crust is attested from mid-15c. in reference to the top crust of a loaf of bread, 1836 in reference to society. The pugilistic uppercut is first recorded 1842. Upper hand "advantage" is late 15c., probably from wrestling. Upperclassman is recorded from 1871. Upper middle class (adj.) is first recorded 1872.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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on ones uppers in Science
upper
  (ŭp'ər)   
Being a later or more recent division of the geological or archaeological period named. Compare lower.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for on ones uppers

upper

noun
  1. An amphetamine; a stimulant narcotic;: the effect of mixing ''uppers'' and ''downers'' (1960s+ Narcotics)
  2. A source of excitement; a pleasurable thrill; up: It may not be the same kind of thrill as winning a hand of poker at a casino, but it's definitely an upper (1973+)
Related Terms

pepper-upper, picker-upper, warmer-upper


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with on ones uppers
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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