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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Marriages among the upper classes may be getting more stable and less likely to dissolve but take place later, as sociologist Stephanie Coontz has noted. Joel Kotkin, National Review, "The Return to Serfdom," 25 July 2019 The income gap helps tilt the state’s demographics in favor of Democrats, because the Democratic party is increasingly a top-bottom coalition composed of the poor and the upper-middle and upper classes. James P. Sutton, National Review, "Why the GOP Has Declined in California," 1 Aug. 2019 At the front of the train are the upper class, people like Jennifer Connelly‘s Melanie Cavill, head of hospitality. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Watch TBS' Snowpiercer cast and creator eat their show's cricket bars," 20 July 2019 In countries like China, many in the middle and upper class are just beginning to eat cheese, and demand could skyrocket in coming years. New York Times, "Trump’s Trade War Could Shut Cheesemakers Out of Foreign Markets," 24 June 2018 Millionaires who feel upper class or less are half as likely to be self-employed or a contractor than those who feel rich – 7% versus 16%. Janna Herron, USA TODAY, "How many Americans with $1 million feel wealthy? Fewer than you may think.," 17 July 2019 An enduring story line at this Women's World Cup is the narrowing gap between soccer's upper class and the ascending programs. Steven Goff, courant.com, "England can match the U.S. in confidence. Can it measure up to the Americans’ play?," 1 July 2019 There are other examples of the neediest people of California being called to subsidize the upper classes in pursuit of a carbon-free energy program. WSJ, "California’s Green Rules Hurt the Poor More," 23 Sep. 2018 Opel, General Motor's European brand, has equipped its flagship vehicle with features that once belonged only to the upper classes, like lane departure warning, rearview cameras and automatic emergency braking, in a bid to attract new buyers. Fox News, "Five highlights from the Frankfurt auto show," 17 Sep. 2015

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

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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