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up·​per-class ˌə-pər-ˈklas How to pronounce upper-class (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of the upper class

upper class

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: a social class occupying a position above the middle class and having the highest status in a society

Examples of upper-class in a Sentence

Adjective upper-class boys who had an entrenched sense of entitlement Noun a popular pastime among the upper classes a member of the upper class
Recent Examples on the Web
Geishas are upper-class entertainers and genteel Sayumi already is an accomplished musician, singer, calligrapher, and tea ceremony host. Norma Meyer, Orange County Register, 15 May 2024 Paddy, ever the upper-class Englishman, dressed with nonchalant elegance in jeans, crisp shirts, and crewneck sweaters. Plum Sykes, Vogue, 23 Apr. 2024 Science was relatively new as an independent field; its roots were as an activity practiced by middle- or upper-class people at home in their spare time after their real day’s work as barons, doctors, lawyers or whatever professions left them enough free time and resources to putter. Rachel Lance, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Apr. 2024 This classism was something McAlister faced while at the BBC, which tends to hire people from upper-class backgrounds. Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2024 Stock portfolios and home prices have soared, giving middle- and upper-class households an extra boost. Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 Even in the 1970s, a large, working-class family was met with a degree of wariness that middle- and upper-class families rarely are. Nell Frizzell, Vogue, 13 Mar. 2024 No set curriculum existed, and the only subjects considered necessary for middle- and upper-class girls were needlework, reading, writing, etiquette, music and a bit of arithmetic. E.r. Zarevich, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Mar. 2024 Although Ings has made a career playing upper-class British rogues, his own background is a little different. Imogen West-Knights, New York Times, 12 Mar. 2024
The story’s nucleus is a Roman Empire footnote about Lucius Sergius Catiline, an aristocrat and aspiring consul attempting to overthrow the Republic with a plan to boot out the upper class and liberate the underclass from debt. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2024 Guy Ritchie has another film in the works that doubles down on the British upper class. Alex Ritman, Variety, 13 May 2024 The upper class began sporting this more elevated attire for evening events–this included dark colors like the more traditional shades of black and blue. Shelby Ying Hyde, Vogue, 27 Mar. 2024 Young European noblemen had always taken a grand tour, but in the 19th century, frequent, pleasure-seeking travel became a fixture for the upper classes, newly able to gallivant by steam train or cruise liner. The Editors, Robb Report, 28 Mar. 2024 In recent years, what was once a luxury product became increasingly mainstream as incomes have risen among China’s middle and upper classes. Siyi Zhao, New York Times, 23 Feb. 2024 The middle class is generally perceived as those who fall between the socio-economic hierarchy of the working class and upper class. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 But, in 1960, his parents, fearful of the rise of a Communist dictator, joined an exodus of the middle and upper classes. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, 17 Feb. 2024 Fitzgerald’s writing is a critique of the self-mythologizing upper class; Luhrmann’s adaptation buys into the myth. Janey Tracey, EW.com, 29 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'upper-class.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1837, in the meaning defined above


1814, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of upper-class was in 1814

Dictionary Entries Near upper-class

Upper Chinook


upper class

Cite this Entry

“Upper-class.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upper-class. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

upper class

: the highest class in society
upper-class adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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