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

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 Amid a transitional era for college football, that’s a win for the little guys of this sport ruled by an upper class. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 31 Dec. 2021 Together, these clues suggest the upper class scaled back their most egregious displays of wealth. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Dec. 2021 Gonzales’ experience was the result of racist housing policies that withheld home mortgages in majority white and upper class neighborhoods from people of color, immigrants and people with low incomes. Shane Burke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Dec. 2021 Additionally, saffron may have been chosen due to its pricey stature with the Swedish upper class. Andrea Caughey, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Nov. 2021 But observers note that that same upper class may want to keep their personal property fortunes away from the prying eyes of tax collectors. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 26 Oct. 2021 Clive is upper class, Maurice is middle class, and Alec, working class, and Forster portrays the roles each is pressed into because of this, and their resistance or submission to the demands of those roles. Alexander Chee, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 2021 Women, mostly upper class and white, were particularly active in the movement, eager to wield political agency. USA Today, 28 Sep. 2021 Jefferson wraps her story in a larger social history of the Black American upper class, making explicit her role as both a character in and a curator of her story by breaking through the book’s narrative scaffolding to address her readers. New York Times, 29 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near upper-class

Upper Chinook


upper class

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Cite this Entry

“Upper-class.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upper-class. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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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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