\ə-ˈbəv \

Definition of above 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : in the sky : overhead the clouds above

b : in or to heaven

2a : in or to a higher place

b : higher on the same page or on a preceding page except as stated above

c : upstairs

d : above zero 10 degrees above

3 : in or to a higher rank or number 30 and above

4 archaic : in addition : besides

5 : upstage



Definition of above (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : in or to a higher place than : over a room above the store

b : upriver of anchored about 10 miles above the city

2a : superior to (as in rank, quality, or degree) A sergeant is above a corporal.

b : out of reach of above suspicion

c : in preference to puts his child's needs above his own needs

d : too proud or honorable to stoop to not above taking undue credit

3 : exceeding in number, quantity, or size : more than men above 50 years old

4 : as distinct from and in addition to heard the whistle above the roar of the crowd


plural above

Definition of above (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : something that is above Select one of the above.

b : a person whose name is written above Contact any of the above for more information.

2a : a higher authority

b : heaven



Definition of above (Entry 4 of 4)

: written or discussed higher on the same page or on a preceding page Contact me at the above address.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for above

Synonyms: Adverb

aloft, over, overhead

Synonyms: Preposition


Synonyms: Noun

bliss, Elysium, heaven, kingdom come, paradise, sky, Zion (also Sion)

Antonyms: Adverb

below, beneath, under

Antonyms: Preposition

below, beneath, under

Antonyms: Noun

Gehenna, hell, Pandemonium, perdition

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Using Above as an Adjective or Noun: Usage Guide


Although still objected to by some, the use of above as a noun to mean "something that is above" none of the above the above is Theseus's opinion — William Blake and as an adjective without the above reserve — O. W. Holmes †1935 I was brought up on the above words — Viscount Montgomery has been long established as standard.

Examples of above in a Sentence


up above and down below Temperatures range from 5 below to 5 above.


He raised his arms above his head. They hung a mirror above the mantel. We rented an apartment above a restaurant. Temperatures were above average all week. men above 50 years old She values her private time above her fame. He puts his child's needs above his own.


in her dying days she was supposedly visited by an angel from above
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Listen to our complete interview with Paul Tremblay, Grady Hendrix, and Theresa DeLucci in Episode 317 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "Satanists Just Aren’t Scary Anymore," 14 July 2018 State public health officials inspected several correctional facilities this week after receiving complaints that prison temperatures had risen above 100 degrees during the recent heat wave and created intolerable conditions. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, "Health inspectors visit prisons after receiving complaints about heat," 13 July 2018 Lakes Michigan and Huron were recorded at nearly 2 feet above their historic average and a half inch higher than a year ago. Tony Briscoe, chicagotribune.com, "What happens when Lake Superior has too much water? It dumps it into an already overflowing Lake Michigan," 13 July 2018 Click through above to see photos from The Suffers album release show. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "The Suffers celebrate new album with first of two sold-out Houston shows," 13 July 2018 Referencing the first Apple commercial from 1984, Grande seductively holds the weapon before throwing it up at the high cathedral ceilings, smashing the glass above. Connor Whittum, Billboard, "Ariana Grande's Epic 'God Is a Woman' Video, Decoded," 13 July 2018 The length falls at waist level while above-the-brow bangs frame her face. Wendy Sy, Allure, "Jessica Simpson Wore Red Hair With Bangs for Her Birthday," 12 July 2018 Italianate in style and faced with orange brick, the rowhouse offered a first-floor storefront with bedrooms above for Jacob and his wife, Maria, two sons, a daughter and boarder, all recorded in the 1910 census. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Collapse: The rise and deadly fall of a Baltimore rowhouse," 12 July 2018 Two cabinet ministers resigned in protest: Boris Johnson (above), the foreign secretary, and David Davis, the Brexit secretary. The Economist, "Politics this week," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

They were found by a pair of British divers nearly 10 days later, huddled on a small, dry shelf just above the water, smiling with relief but visibly skinny. Anchorage Daily News, "With V-for-Victory sign, rescued Thai boys celebrate freedom," 12 July 2018 Outside the window, the January supermoon is rising above the fjord, bathing the landscape in a monochrome of blue and white. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "Are Kilian Jornet's Speed Records Too Good to Be True?," 12 July 2018 In 1970, Charlotte saw about 47 summer days with average temperatures above normal, the independent research organization Climate Central reported. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Sweaty days are on the rise in Charlotte, and they can send you to the hospital," 11 July 2018 Vacancy rates already rose above the region’s overall average in Altamonte Springs, at 26.2 percent, and Lake Mary, at 11.3 percent, during this year’s second quarter. Bill Zimmerman, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Drop in Metro Orlando office occupancies could get worse, analyst says," 11 July 2018 The full moon rises above an oil drilling rig Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in an aerial image taken near Karnes City, Texas. Jordan Blum, San Antonio Express-News, "Oil, gas deal surge likely in coming months," 11 July 2018 After two more 90 degree days Monday and Tuesday, there have now been 15 days in 2018 with high temperatures of 90 degrees or higher, which is slightly above the normal of 14.6 days. Gary Lessor, courant.com, "Possible Lingering Storms As Overnight Cold Front Cools Things Off Wednesday," 10 July 2018 In 2015 the Paris climate agreement set limits on emissions of the gas to prevent global temperatures rising by more than two degrees Celsius above those of pre-industrial times. The Economist, "Shortages of carbon dioxide in Europe may get worse," 5 July 2018 Monday is expected to be the start of a long stretch of days with highs above 90 degrees. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati weather: Storms bring a brief respite from the heat," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To see images taken from high above was to realize this still novel technology might one day show far more than previously imagined. Peter Manseau, Smithsonian, "Meet Mr. Mumler, the Man Who “Captured” Lincoln’s Ghost on Camera," 11 Oct. 2017 After the war, however, Roman coins (like the one above) match the signature of the silver mines in the Iberian Peninsula. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "This coin reveals when Rome became an empire," 14 Aug. 2017 All of the above are made from chemicals or materials that are bad for the environment, so follow Forecastle's lead and stay away from the cliche party accessories. 5. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "5 ways to help save the planet at Forecastle Festival," 6 July 2017 Above, 16 of our favorite makes (at every price point) of Mary Janes. Rachel Waldman, Vogue, "Ditch Your Ballet Flats For Mary Janes," 28 June 2017 Above is Turkish coffee ice cream, Jivara-coffee Chantilly cream, ginger caramel, and chocolate fondant. Alex Beggs, Bon Appetit, "5 Fancy Desserts from the Best Pastry Chefs in the Country," 21 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Despite edicts from above and earnest efforts from within police forces, uniting cops and communities in a deep and lasting way remains a theory rather than a practice. Ben Austen, The New Republic, "How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality," 21 June 2018 When the murder investigation made news, that idea did too; TIME magazine was one of many news outlets that published the above photo and described Einhorn as a founder of Earth Day when covering the case. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Behind the Photo That Made People Think Earth Day Was Founded by a Convicted Killer," 20 Apr. 2018 That’s why some people are wondering if Trump is assuming streaming numbers, which aren’t included in the above and surely dwarf those from previous presidents, put him over the the top. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Of Course Trump Is Lying About His State of the Union Ratings," 1 Feb. 2018 Over the course of a few weeks this fall, friends came to me divulging baggage on all of the above and then some. Allie Volpe, Glamour, "When the Line Between a Being Good Friend and Emotional Labor Gets Blurry," 25 Jan. 2018 The most memorable place to sample all of the above (and more) might just be Cremona’s Lago Scuro, a working dairy and organic farm housed on a sprawling medieval manor surrounded by hazelnut, oak, and magnolia trees. Christina Pérez, Vogue, "Call Me by Your Name," 6 Jan. 2018 Dip the next 20 ladyfingers in the juice mixture as above and arrange them in an even layer over the mascarpone layer. The Editors At House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "A Festive and Unique Twist on a Classic Dessert," 19 Nov. 2014 Take a walk through Carnivals past in the above gallery, which includes 85 photos of celebrities at Mardi Gras. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "Celebrities at Mardi Gras: A visual history of a Carnival tradition," 19 Jan. 2018 Click through the above photo gallery to see who signed — and who didn’t — this offseason. The Baltimore Sun, baltimoresun.com, "A look at where Ravens free agents have landed this offseason," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'above.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


circa 1515, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for above


Middle English above, aboven, going back to Old English abufan, from a- a- entry 1 + bufan "above" (akin to Old Saxon bi-oƀan, Middle Dutch bōven, Old Frisian bova, Middle High German bobene), from be- be- + ufan "above, from above," going back to Germanic *uban- (whence Old Saxon oƀana "from above," Old High German obana), from *ub- "above, on" + *-an-, adverbial suffix — more at over entry 1


Middle English above, aboven, derivative of above, aboven above entry 1


Middle English above "a higher position," derivative of above, aboven above entry 1


derivative of above entry 1

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Statistics for above

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for above

The first known use of above was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for above


\ə-ˈbəv \

Kids Definition of above

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: in or to a higher place Stars shine above.



Kids Definition of above (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : higher than : over above the clouds

2 : too good for You're not above that kind of work.

3 : more than I won't pay above ten dollars.

4 : to a greater degree than She values her family above all else.

5 : having more power or importance than A captain is above a lieutenant.



Kids Definition of above (Entry 3 of 3)

: said or written earlier Read the above definition.



Legal Definition of above 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : higher on the same page or on a preceding page the discussion above

2 : higher or superior in rank or authority the court above

above the line

: in calculations that yield adjusted gross income or profit



Legal Definition of above (Entry 2 of 2)

: written or discussed higher on the same page or on a preceding page the above argument

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Comments on above

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