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 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, "'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels': TV Review," 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, "Inside the ‘Jitney’ Set: Picturing Pittsburgh Onstage," 9 Feb. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Apple keeps pace with the noise-cancelling leaders like Sony Corp.’s $280 1000X-M4 without threatening to upstage them. Mark Gurman,, "Apple's $549 AirPods Max Headphones Offer Big Sound and Bugs: Review," 23 Dec. 2020 The original Porsche Design Book One, which debuted at Mobile World Congress in 2017, seemed determined to upstage what was then the most exotic laptop available (and definitely one of the most expensive), Microsoft’s Surface Book. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "The Porsche Design Acer Book RS brings sports-car flair to a premium laptop," 21 Oct. 2020 Leave it to the NBA to drop a little off-the-court news to upstage its most anticipated event. oregonlive, "Doc Rivers-Clippers part ways, Mark Cuban helps Delonte West, NBA Finals include ‘horrible asterisk,’ title goes through LeBron: Playoffs news and notes," 29 Sep. 2020 And Rhode Island managed to upstage all the other states during the virtual roll call at the Democratic National Convention, thanks to a mysterious man in black holding up a plate of calamari. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Is Richard Jenkins the Most Famous Person in Rhode Island?," 14 Sep. 2020 As Biden prepares to formally accept the nomination of his party on Thursday, Mr. Trump took his multi-state bid to upstage the Democratic National Convention to Biden's Pennsylvania hometown, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Most Americans support more funding for Postal Service to handle mail-in ballots, poll finds," 20 Aug. 2020 Trump rallied supporters — and sought to upstage the Democratic nominee only hours before his marquee convention speech. Washington Post, "In a battleground Pennsylvania county, convention boosts Democrats’ hopes for a Biden win," 20 Aug. 2020 In 1786, the Tignon Law was passed in Louisiana, which decreed that all Black women were to cover their hair so as to not upstage white women. Ashlee Marie Preston, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gabrielle Union Discusses the Politics of Black Hair," 4 Aug. 2020 Rapsody might be the only rapper ever to upstage Kendrick Lamar on his song. cleveland, "50 greatest rap verses since 2010," 8 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The camera still rolls, recording not the jazz musicians but the white auteur threatening his Black worker, while the musicians snicker at the scene from upstage. Sarah Cowan, The New York Review of Books, "The Complicated Camera of Filmmaker Shirley Clarke," 10 Oct. 2020 Perhaps feeling lonely far upstage, perhaps playing as if they still were padded by lots of strings, winds and brasses were often louder than necessary. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "In chamber-orchestra formation, with restricted audiences, the Dallas Symphony soldiers on," 2 Oct. 2020 Both musicians and audience members sit on the Meyerson Symphony Center stage — performers downstage facing upstage, where the audience sits on orchestra risers and the choral terrace. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Plan your listening with upcoming classical music performances," 13 Feb. 2020 During a rehearsal in late February at the Cherry Grove United Methodist Church, Bramkamp clings to a pillow and rocks back and forth in the upstage right corner. Madeline Mitchell,, "Arthur Miller's 'Incident at Vichy' Holocaust drama returns after nearly 50 years," 5 Mar. 2020 What Puerto Rico tourists need to know in wake of earthquakes Will Harry and Meghan's royal bombshell upstage Duchess Kate's birthday? USA TODAY, "Iran missile attacks, Australian wildfires, Puerto Rico earthquakes: 5 things to know Thursday," 9 Jan. 2020 Performers with many other instruments, including percussion, cello, guitar, bass guitar, and piano spread out across upstage center and right. Nick Mccool,, "Newton South jazz ensemble’s holiday concert raises funds for Panama trip," 21 Dec. 2019 Designer Alexander Dodge sets the tale within receding stone walls open upstage to the view of distant mountains. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "A fairy-tale world premiere and Janácek's brutal but redemptive 'Jenufa' impress at Santa Fe Opera," 6 Aug. 2019 The set, with its sofa, coffee table and upstage piano is gallingly simple. New York Times, "Get Ready for the Masterwork No One Has Seen," 12 Nov. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for upstage

Time Traveler

The first known use of upstage was in 1870

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Cite this Entry

“Upstage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for upstage


How to pronounce upstage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of upstage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: toward the back part of a stage


How to pronounce upstage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of upstage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to take attention away from (someone or something else, such as another performer)

Comments on upstage

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