also upwards, Old English upweard, upweardes "up, upward, toward heaven;" see up (adv.) + -ward. Similar formation in Middle Low German upwart, Middle Dutch opwaert, Dutch opwaart, Middle High German ufwart. As an adjective from c. 1600 (also in Old English). Phrase upward mobility first recorded 1949; mainly restricted to sociologists' jargon until 1960s.
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