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1853, back-formation from upholsterer "tradesman who finishes or repairs articles of furniture" (1610s), from upholdester (early 15c.), formed with a diminutive (originally fem.) suffix, from obsolete Middle English noun upholder "dealer in small goods" (early 14c.), from upholden "to repair, uphold, keep from falling or sinking" (in this case, by stuffing); see uphold.