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up·​scale ˈəp-ˈskāl How to pronounce upscale (audio)
: relating to, being, or appealing to affluent consumers
also : of a superior quality


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upscaled; upscaling; upscales

transitive verb

: to make (something) more appealing to affluent consumers : to make (something) more upscale
The council is renaming them the Fashion Awards, globalizing them, moving the hoopla around them to the Royal Albert Hall and otherwise upscaling them. Vanessa Friedman
"Everybody's trying to upscale men's colognes because the prestige brands have taken share from the mass brands," says cosmetics industry consultant Allan Mottus. Ronald Alsop
also : to improve the quality of (something)
… even retained a handwriting teacher to upscale her penmanship—no more tiny circles over her i's. Brad Darrach
: to increase the size; scope, or scale of (something)
A star is an upscaled nuclear reactor, not a bonfire. Laurence A. Marschall
As a result, an upscaling of the problem of underrepresentation to the national scale mobilizes scalar politics … Emily Skop


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: to or toward the upper, more expensive end of a range of products or services
He tried to move upscale—toward higher-cost, higher-profit garments, which, in theory, would be less susceptible to price competition. James Lardner
… chef Celestino Drago has taken Sicilian cuisine upscale in his chic Santa Monica restaurant. Thomas Matthews

Example Sentences

Adjective a new upscale shopping center is under construction on the west end of town
Recent Examples on the Web
Bloomie’s, a smaller but still upscale version of Bloomingdale’s department store, opened in Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie on Thursday. Karie Angell Luc, Chicago Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 The 32-year-old chef, who was born in Taiwan and grew up in Canada, has undoubtedly succeeded in showing that vegetarian food can be refined and upscale. Amy Gunia, Time, 13 Oct. 2022 With one of the prettiest patios in town, Le Colonial is the most upscale and glamorous Vietnamese restaurant in Houston. Mai Pham, Chron, 23 Aug. 2022 The latest, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet, indeed seamlessly blends dive functions with Blancpain’s elegant aesthetic and upscale complications. Laurie Brookins, Robb Report, 1 Aug. 2022 The focus is to make this class of ships more upscale and premium in every way from the food and beverage elements to accommodations and entertainment. Ramsey Qubein, Forbes, 31 July 2022 For example, the inside of a box holding a new lipstick tends to be white because the color conveys a more chic and upscale feel. Parija Kavilanz, CNN, 26 July 2022 Monarca provides ambiance and upscale Mexican food to residents. Alyssa Alfano, cleveland, 26 July 2022 The space was silent and aromatically upscale, bathed in soft sunlight that swept through a wall of glass overlooking the water. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'upscale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use


1966, in the meaning defined above


1963, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1977, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of upscale was in 1963

Dictionary Entries Near upscale

Cite this Entry

“Upscale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on upscale

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