1590s, from up (adv.) + stairs (see stair). As an adjective from 1782. The noun is first attested 1872. Adjectival meaning "characteristic of upstairs life" (in private rooms of a household, as opposed to servants' quarters) is recorded from 1942.
He [Halifax] had said he had known many kicked down stairs, but he never knew any kicked up stairs before. [Gilbert Burnet, supplement to "History of My own Time," from his original memoirs, c. 1697]
updated on September 25, 2018