upright (adj.)

Old English upriht "erect, face-upward;" see up (adv.) + right (adj.1). Similar compounds are found in other Germanic languages (Old Frisian upriucht, Middle Dutch oprecht, Old High German ufreht, German aufrecht, Old Norse uprettr). Figurative sense of "good, honest, adhering to rectitude" is first attested 1520s.

As an adverb, Old English uprihte. As a noun, 1560s in the sense "a vertical front;" c. 1700 as "a vertical timber in framing;" 1742 in the sense "something standing erect." Meaning "an upright piano" is from 1860.

THREE-PENNY UPRIGHT. A retailer of love, who, for the sum mentioned, dispenses her favours standing against a wall. ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1811]

The bent-over rear-entry posture they are talking about, of course, is kubda, the three-obol position at the bottom-end of a prostitute's price-range. [James N. Davidson, "Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens," 1997]

updated on November 10, 2017

Definitions of upright from WordNet
upright (adj.)
in a vertical position; not sloping;
an upright post
Synonyms: unsloped
upright (adj.)
of moral excellence;
an upright and respectable man
Synonyms: good / just
upright (adj.)
upright in position or posture;
he sat bolt upright
Synonyms: erect / vertical
upright (n.)
a vertical structural member as a post or stake;
the ball sailed between the uprights
Synonyms: vertical
upright (n.)
a piano with a vertical sounding board;
Synonyms: upright piano
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