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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

Example Sentences

Noun a popular pastime among the upper classes a member of the upper class
Recent Examples on the Web
It was politically empowered upper-class residents of high-rises near the reserve who relished the green view but panicked if a leopard so much as showed up on a security camera. Vidya Athreya, Scientific American, 27 Mar. 2023 In the film La grande bellezza, director Paolo Sorrentino shows us a two-faced twenty-first century Rome: the lingering beauty of its ancient past and the superficiality of its upper-class residents today. Hazlitt, 22 Mar. 2023 Some middle- and upper-class families also may not realize their student is eligible for scholarships and other opportunities, Leising said. Cate Charron, The Indianapolis Star, 10 Mar. 2023 While many upper-class households got raises to keep up with the pace of inflation, middle-class families didn’t see the same wage increases—contributing to the already shrinking middle class. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 3 Mar. 2023 Others argued that vouchers would only partially cover tuition for private schools and would mostly benefit middle- and upper-class families who already have funds to afford a private education. Neal Earley, Arkansas Online, 2 Mar. 2023 The chance to begin anew over 8,000 miles away from Russia has led more than 22,000 mostly middle- and upper-class Russians to make the circuitous journey to this capital city since January 2022, according to Argentine government migration figures. Juan Forero, WSJ, 26 Feb. 2023 Tough, glamorous Palestinian lawyer Nasrin (a magnetic Amal Murkus) recalls her longing to sing, while cheerful upper-class Jewish mom Eti (Orit Samuel) always wanted to be a film star. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2023
The aim of acquiring these items was to emulate the upper class, which was, in turn, emulating European elites. Maria Teresa Hart, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Nov. 2022 Education provided a route to the upper class. Michela Tindera, Forbes, 16 June 2021 The brothers were also afforded burial rites appropriate for the upper class: They were entombed with fine pottery and offerings of food. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Feb. 2023 The prisoner begged the chaplain to convert his punishment from burning to beheading, a faster and seemingly less painful method reserved for the upper class. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 25 Feb. 2022 The Historical Society of Carroll County is a rich resource for these photos, but most of its portraits feature subjects who are solidly middle or upper class and White, creating an unintended but distorted view of the past. Frank J. Batavick, Baltimore Sun, 12 Feb. 2023 Any increase in the homestead exemption would lower the amount of local property taxes for schools leaving the state to offset the costs with state sales and use taxes that impact lower-income families far more than the upper class. Dallas News, 30 Jan. 2023 A lot of the upper-middle and upper class were bisexual or homosexual. Brent Lang, Variety, 7 Sep. 2021 The great Aristotle distinguished among three distinct forms of government—monarchy, or rule by a single individual or king; aristocracy, or rule by a privileged but responsible upper class; and democracy, rule by the masses. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, 10 Feb. 2023 See More

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 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

upper class

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