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

One of the most persistent misconceptions about slavery in the United States is that the white upper class refused to associate with slave traders on principle, Rothman said - a myth the case of Franklin and Armfield disproves. Hannah Natanson, Anchorage Daily News, "They were once America’s cruelest, richest slave traders. Why does no one know their names?," 17 Sep. 2019 There were four types—the paipo, used by children; the alaia, which commoners were allowed to use; the kiko‘o, for the upper class; and the olo, reserved for royalty. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Learn to Surf on the Break Where it All Began," 12 Aug. 2019 And its impact is visible throughout Athens: in more jobs at the port, in Chinese-language advertisements for local real estate, and in plans to remake Piraeus as a tourist destination for the burgeoning Chinese upper classes. By Vivienne Walt, Fortune, "Boxed In at the Docks: How a Lifeline From China Changed Greece," 22 July 2019 Humility is stamped into a genre more commonly associated with an upper class. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "This artist’s portrait subjects: Fellow asylum seekers in the detention center," 22 June 2019 What the new salary cap increase did is squeeze out many capable players or force them to take below-market deals because the upper class earns so much . . Gary Washburn, BostonGlobe.com, "DeMarcus Cousins’s latest injury a devastating blow," 17 Aug. 2019 There was only one catch: in the beginning, thanks to the kapu system of laws in ancient Hawai‘i, only the upper class and royals were allowed to surf, specifically on the surf break beyond what’s now the Outrigger Waikiki. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Learn to Surf on the Break Where it All Began," 12 Aug. 2019 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

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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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

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involving a confidence or trust

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