"tradesman who finishes or repairs articles of furniture" (1610s), from upholdester (early 15c.; early 14c. as a surname), formed with diminutive (originally fem.) suffix -ster + obsolete Middle English noun upholder "dealer in small goods" (c. 1300), from upholden "to repair, uphold, keep from falling or sinking" (in this case, by stuffing); see uphold (v.).
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