up·​stage | \ ˈəp-ˈstāj How to pronounce upstage (audio) \

Definition of upstage

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : toward or at the rear of a theatrical stage
2 : away from a motion-picture or television camera


up·​stage | \ ˈəp-ˈstāj How to pronounce upstage (audio) \

Definition of upstage (Entry 2 of 4)

2 : of or relating to the rear of a stage


up·​stage | \ ˌəp-ˈstāj How to pronounce upstage (audio) \
upstaged; upstaging; upstages

Definition of upstage (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to draw attention away from upstaging the competition
2 : to force (an actor) to face away from the audience by staying upstage
3 : to treat snobbishly


up·​stage | \ ˈəp-ˌstāj How to pronounce upstage (audio) \

Definition of upstage (Entry 4 of 4)

: the part of a stage that is farthest from the audience or camera

Examples of upstage in a Sentence

Verb We don't want the flower girl upstaging the bride. My apple pie was upstaged by her chocolate cake.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Villaume and the orchestra were no less dramatic forces, but coordination might have been surer if DiDonato hadn’t been so far upstage. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 11 May 2021 Rodriguez and Nieves are dynamic and compelling but, in the process, somewhat upstage Zovatto, whose Tiago really should be the season's star. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Apr. 2020 An original page from a 1974 edition of The Pittsburgh Press, an afternoon paper published from 1884 to 1992, is taped to the backside of the upstage door. Erik Piepenburg, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Now, the two are set to co-host the 2022 Met Gala (alongside Regina King and Lin Manuel-Miranda) in an anticipated joint showing that may even upstage their adorable married couple's debut from the fashion event in 2014. Sabrina Park, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 Apr. 2022 Beavan said in a recent interview with THR of Estella’s attention-getting looks, often worn to upstage The Baroness. Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Mar. 2022 Even so, Gibson still manages to frequently upstage Hauser while simply serving as a lively off-screen narrator. Joe Leydon, Variety, 17 Mar. 2022 With her peroxide hair curled into immaculate waves and dewy skin to really let those diamonds sing, Gaga managed to upstage everyone else by just being Gaga. Alice Newbold, Vogue, 13 Mar. 2022 That’s the route that Kamala Harris, under obvious constraints not to upstage Biden, took in her introductory remarks. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 6 Jan. 2022 On the timing of any potential Russian action, many people suspect Putin will not want to upstage the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Richard Galant, CNN, 30 Jan. 2022 Trump was unable to upstage President Biden’s speech with a volley of social media rants, but major outlets such as Fox News still gave his angry response prominent play. Washington Post, 13 May 2021 Capote saw this as a chance to help Radziwill upstage her sister by embarking on something glamorous and exciting. Mark Peikert, Town & Country, 28 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nothing can keep down the opera’s magnificent chorus, although placing it behind a scrim upstage, far from Conlon and the orchestra in the pit, reduced its effectiveness. Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2022 Mirella Weingarten’s dramatic set design situates Khan on a parched, dusty hillside, rising upstage and draped ominously in lengths of rope. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 Instead of hydraulics in the floor that permit characters to descend into hell, the journey is made via a compartment upstage that opens and closes like a restaurant dumbwaiter. Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2021 There’s the stage with different acoustics upstage and downstage, the orchestra level seating area, under the balcony, which is an extremely deep area with a low ceiling, and the upper balcony. oregonlive, 27 Sep. 2021 And as Silky is stumbling upstage with one arm in and one arm out, Eureka is taking us home and nailing the final chorus. Paul Mccallion, Vulture, 19 Aug. 2021 But why the piano tumped up against the tree, or the four upstage telescopes, or the big gyroscopes, or, except to facilitate more hyperactivity, the trampoline? Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 11 Aug. 2021 The upstage wall sometimes retracts to expose a grassy hillock with small trees. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 11 Aug. 2021 After Lapine confuses upstage and downstage and gives inappropriately harsh notes, Grammer, who plays several small roles, reams the director out in front of the company. New York Times, 28 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of upstage


1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1918, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1931, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of upstage was in 1870

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Cite this Entry

“Upstage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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