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[uhp-stairz] /ˈʌpˈstɛərz/
up the stairs; to or on an upper floor.
Informal. in the mind:
to be a little weak upstairs.
to or at a higher level of authority:
You may have to take the matter upstairs.
Military Slang. at or to a higher level in the air.
Also, upstair. of, relating to, or situated on an upper floor:
an upstairs window; an upstairs apartment.
noun, plural upstairs.
(usually used with a singular verb) an upper story or stories; the part of a building or house that is above the ground floor:
The upstairs of this house is entirely rented.
a higher command or level of authority:
We can't take action till we have approval from upstairs.
kick upstairs, to promote (a person) to a higher position, usually having less authority, in order to be rid of him or her.
Origin of upstairs
1590-1600; up- + stairs Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for upstairs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Everybody who knew what had been going on upstairs was there.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • But when she learned that K. was upstairs, oddly enough, she did not go up at once.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • upstairs every one had gone to bed, and they had not even left us a light.

    Glories of Spain Charles W. Wood
  • They are upstairs in such a funny place that I must go myself.

    Echoes of the War J. M. Barrie
  • Come, give that child to me, and you go on upstairs and get washed up.

    The Fifth Wheel Olive Higgins Prouty
British Dictionary definitions for upstairs


up the stairs; to or on an upper floor or level
(informal) to or into a higher rank or office
(informal) in the mind: a little weak upstairs
(informal) kick upstairs, to promote to a higher rank or position, esp one that carries less power
noun (functioning as singular or pl)
  1. an upper floor or level
  2. (as modifier): an upstairs room
(Brit, informal, old-fashioned) the masters and mistresses of a household collectively, esp of a large house Compare downstairs (sense 3)
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 upstairs

1590s (adj.), from up + stairs (see stair). The noun is first attested 1872. Meaning "characteristic of upstairs life" (in private rooms of a household, as opposed to servants' quarters) is recorded from 1942.

He [Halifax] had said he had known many kicked down stairs, but he never knew any kicked up stairs before. [Gilbert Burnet, supplement to "History of My own Time," from his original memoirs, c.1697]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for upstairs



The North, esp with respect to its racism (1970s+ Black)

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 upstairs


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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