up·​per-class | \ˌə-pər-ˈklas, -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


a popular pastime among the upper classes a member of the upper class

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The children at the university preschools were mostly from white, educated, middle-to-upper class families. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "Kids Today Are Actually More Patient Than Kids 50 Years Ago," 11 July 2018 Much of today’s upper class is engaged in a frenzy of self-improvement. Vanessa Grigoriadis, New York Times, "The ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment," 30 May 2018 Hauling water was a laborious process in that era, but bidet bathing was a regular indulgence for the aristocracy and upper classes. Maria Teresa Hart, The Atlantic, "The Bidet's Revival," 18 Mar. 2018 Some women also jokingly referred to Atlanta, a majority-black city with a storied history in the civil rights movement that has long been home to a large black middle and upper class, as Wakanda. Vanessa Williams, Washington Post, "At inaugural Power Rising summit, black women celebrate wins, strategize for upcoming battles," 25 Feb. 2018 For example, the middle and upper classes in England (and the United States for that matter) will see photos of Markle’s overweight father holding a bag of Kentucky Fried Chicken and mock him, Hurst said. Alfred Lubrano, Philly.com, "Royal wedding betrays the less-than-classy side of an American bride's family," 18 May 2018 During the 1890s, when bicycling exploded in popularity among the middle and upper classes in the United Kingdom, journalists and others condemned female cyclists for their wantonness. Christine Ro, The Atlantic, "How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women," 15 Apr. 2018 The triplets, born in 1961, were placed with three families — one upper class, one middle, one working — by the now-defunct Louise Wise Agency as part of a study about nature vs. nurture by the Child Development Center. Washington Post, "Documentary tells dark tale of triplets separated at birth," 28 June 2018 Tens of thousands of Venezuelans — especially from the upper classes — began leaving the country following the rise of left-wing firebrand Hugo Chávez, who became president in 1999. Anthony Faiola And Rachelle Krygier, Washington Post, "A historic exodus is leaving Venezuela without teachers, doctors and electricians," 3 June 2018

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

The first known use of upper-class was in 1814

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on upper-class

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with upper-class

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for upper-class

Spanish Central: Translation of upper-class

Comments on upper-class

What made you want to look up upper-class? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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