upper

1 [uhp-er]
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.
a.
an upper dental plate.
b.
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:
1300–50; Middle English; see up (adj.), -er4

Dictionary.com Unabridged

upper

2 [uhp-er]
noun Slang.
1.
a stimulant drug, especially an amphetamine.
2.
a pleasant or elating experience, person, or situation.

Origin:
1965–70, Americanism; up + -er1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
upper (ˈʌpə)
 
adj
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
 
n
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 Compare downer Also called (esp US): up any of various drugs having a stimulant or euphoric effect

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

upper
c.1300, originally comparative of up. Cf. M.Du. upper, Du. opper, Low Ger. upper, Norw. 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 1460 in ref. to the top crust of a loaf of
bread, 1836 in ref. to society. The pugilistic uppercut is first recorded 1842. Upper hand "advantage" is 1481, 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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
upper   (ŭp'ər)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

upper

In addition to the idioms beginning with upper, also see keep a stiff upper lip; on one's uppers.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Though not as important as the lower house, the upper house can cause
  frustrating delays and dilute policy.
The key is a single ligament tying the upper arm to the shoulder joint.
Giraffes, for instance, had developed their fantastic necks to browse on the
  upper branches of trees.
Lemurs typically sleep on the upper branches of trees.
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