up·​per-class | \ ˌə-pər-ˈklas How to pronounce upper-class (audio) , -ˈkläs \

Definition of upper-class

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of the upper class

upper class


Definition of upper class (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Examples of upper-class in a Sentence

Noun a popular pastime among the upper classes a member of the upper class
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The game features nine people, all stereotypical depictions of indigenous people, upper class white people and Afro Latinos. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "'It Needed to Be Modernized.' The Artists Recreating Lotería, the Iconic Mexican Game of Bingo," 24 Dec. 2020 The son of a con man who smuggled his son into the English upper class through boarding school, le Carré went on to be a student at Oxford, a teacher at Eton, and, of course, a spy, before becoming a writer. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "John le Carré Knew England’s Secrets," 14 Dec. 2020 In fact, the reality is that the English upper class doesn’t just con its fellow countrymen, but the wider world as well. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "John le Carré Knew England’s Secrets," 14 Dec. 2020 Here's the basic premise: the humble Murphy switches lifestyles with an upper class financial broker in order to win a bet. Giulia Heyward And Alfonso Serrano, CNN, "Christmas movies you didn't know were Christmas movies," 29 Nov. 2020 The estrangement of mother and son is inherited along with all the other trappings of the sclerotic upper class. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Class struggle is murder in a lean, unsparing British debut mystery," 25 Nov. 2020 In Britain, the traditions of the upper class distort democracy for everyone. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Earldoms for Girldom," 14 Nov. 2020 Rose comes from the upper class but, much to the disappointment of her sister, encourages her children to play outside and make up stories. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "5 things to know about Angelina Jolie's live-action Peter Pan-inspired film 'Come Away'," 13 Nov. 2020 To show you a different aspect of helping the upper class but not the working class, the Fed’s securities purchases include buying debt issued by firms that are laying off workers while paying substantial dividends to shareholders. Allan Sloan, ProPublica, "The Fed Saved the Economy but Is Threatening Trillions of Dollars Worth of Middle-Class Retirement," 21 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'upper-class.' 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 upper-class


1837, in the meaning defined above


1814, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for upper-class

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The first known use of upper-class was in 1814

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Cite this Entry

“Upper-class.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upper-class. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for upper-class

upper class


English Language Learners Definition of upper class

: a social class that is above the middle class : the highest social class

More from Merriam-Webster on upper-class

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for upper-class

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