Green’s Dictionary of Slang

upper adj.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

upper benjamin (n.) (also upper ben, ...benjy) [according to Hotten (1873) an acknowledgement of the large number of (? Jewish) tailors called Benjamin]

1. (orig. UK Und.) an overcoat, a greatcoat.

[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 174: Dingers. is a term for throwing away or hiding: A highwayman will ding his Upper-Benjamin, his Jazey, his Sticks, his F1ogger, his Diggers, his Beater cases &c., and having all these on him when he committed the robbery, is totally transformed by dinging.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant n.p.: upper-ben an upper coat.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Carlisle Patriot 9 Dec. 2: Josh Hudson, with his white topper on, a prime fancy upper Benjamin [...] came brushing along, and threw his castor in the ring.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 615: He was attired in a Whitehall upper Benjamin.
[UK]Observer (London) 29 Nov. 4/3: He wore a Whitehall upperBen [...] and a white castor.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 8: As the last scene of his eventful history, to exchange his upper Benjamin [...] for an article of more lasting description — a wooden surtout!
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 24: Oliver sneaks – the moon hid under a cloud, has got his upper Ben on. [Ibid.] 35: Upper Benjamin – an upper coat.
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) 206: Send me a good upper Benjamin of the old cut.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall II 220: ‘Vot ’ave you got your great hupper binjimin on for?’ asked Mr. Jorrocks, lifting one of the enormous laps with his stick .
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 15 July 3/1: An upper Benjamin of double-milled drab.
[UK]Mons. Merlin 18 Oct. 6/2: My great coat I invariably designate as such. and never personify it as an ‘upper Benjamin’.
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 99: Ogle the cove, Bell — he wants to pass for a snafler in his belcher tye, though he never bid higher than a wipe in an upper benjamin.
[UK]Westmorland Gaz. 15 Dec. 6/3: We shall find ourselves enveloped in an ‘upper Benjamin’ with half-a-dozen capes for a twenty-four hours’ drive to Manchester.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 334: Upper Benjamin, or benjy a great coat; originally ‘Joseph,’ but, because of the preponderance of tailors named benjamin, altered in deference to them.
[US]S.F. Trade Herald Aug. 2/2: To soak — to hock — Yer upper benjamin at yer uncle’s, to get the ‘sugar’ for a good square meal [DA].
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 15 Oct. 6/4: Then with a great shaking of their ‘upper Benjamins’ (great coats) the crew with their ‘Bendigoes’ on, depart.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 247: upper ben An overcoat.

2. in pl., a pair of trousers.

[UK] advert in ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue (1857) 45: Upper Benjamins built on a downy plan, a monarch to half a finnuff.
upper crust

see separate entries.

upper deck (n.)

see separate entry .

upper miserys (n.)

(US black) the state of feeling physically sick.

[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] upper miserys Definition: 1.To be sick to ones stomach, nauseated. 2. vomiting, or to be vomiting. Example: Man, I gots me the upper miserys since last night.
upper storey (n.) (also upper garret,, …story,

1. the head, the brain, the mental capacity that resides within it, thus adj. intellectual.

[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 30: I’d have you take care of your upper works; for if once you are made fast to her poop, agad!
[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) I 180: Which you imagine to be the new light of grace [...] I take to be a deceitful vapour, glimmering through a crack in your upper storey.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ More Lyric Odes to the Royal Academicians VII 18: Zooks! their upper stories Look so like tenements to let.
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘Jack’s Gratitude’Collection of Songs II 151: My poor upper works / Got shatter’d.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Sir Joseph Banks & the Emperor of Morocco’ Works (1794) II 202: I’m sorry for ye; And pity much your upper storey!
[UK]B.H. Malkin (trans.) Adventures of Gil Blas (1822) I 155: We drank hard, and returned to our employers in a pretty pickle, that is to say so-so in the upper story.
[UK] ‘Johnny Fig Junior’s Bargain’ Tegg’s Prime Song Book 9: Folks thought, who had some understanding, / It had damag’d her upper story.
[US]Columbian (N.Y.) 4 Aug. 3/3: When Lazarus talks of an editor being a ‘little faulty in his upper works,’ we presume he alludes to the editor who, a few years ago, in this city, advertised that he would pay for communications.
[UK]Tom Shuttle and Blousalinda 12: Did love or ale at first infuse / In Tommy’s upper storey?
[UK]G. Smeeton Doings in London 89: My upper works were all steady enough.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 309: Being wide awake – my upper story in perfect repair – and down to what I am about.
[US]N. Ames Mariner’s Sketches 50: She was apparently less ‘crank in the upper works’ then.
[US]A. Greene Life and Adventures of Dr Dodimus Duckworth I 176: You’re a little flighty in the upper garret.
[UK] ‘Nights At Sea’ Bentley’s Misc. Dec. 616: I’m blowed if I warn’t reg’larly bamboozled in my upper works.
[UK] ‘Characters of Freshmen’ in Whibley In Cap and Gown (1889) 179: There is enough wood already in the upper works.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 22 Jan. n.p.: Crawley [...] planted some blows on the upper works.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 16 Jan. 3/1: [...] depositing the same upon ‘the frontis’ of her masculine assailant, and considerably damaging his upper works.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. IV 14: ‘May be – she – she keeps boarders in her upper story!’ ‘What? Ah, yes, I understand. You mean she may be flush with creeping ideas!’.
[US]Manchester Spy (NH) 9 Aug. n.p.: It looks a little [...] as though they had a soft place somewhere in the top of their upper story.
[US]J. Brougham Basket of Chips 369: The state of my hupper works painfully persuaded me.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Victoria (Melbourne) 8 Aug. 4/3: [B]oth [fighters] doing execution in the upper works.
[UK]‘George Eliot’ Amos Barton (2003) 13: He’s a good sort o’ man, for all he’s not overburden’d i’ th’ upper storey.
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers 2nd Ser. (1880) 131: Soft-heartedness, in times like these, / Shows sof’ness in the upper story!
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 265: UPPER STORY, or upper loft, a person’s head.
[US]‘Dan de Quille’ Big Bonanza (1947) 49: He was always very eccentric, and [...] was considered by many persons to be ‘a little cracked’ in the ‘upper storey.’.
[UK]Bristol Magpie 14 Sept. 6/1: We Hear [...] That his upper storey is certainly the worse for at least one screw.
[US]R.C. Hartranft Journal of Solomon Sidesplitter 145: Divine Almira [...] let me remind you that you occupy my upper storey entirely.
[UK]Herald (London) 31 May 3/1: Sky-parlours may be very well, but I’m certain there is something wrong with my friend’s ‘upper story’ [F&H].
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 13 May. 1/5: He have been taking gin and peppermint which have affected him in the hupper storey.
[UK]Kipling Captains Courageous cap 1: [Internet] He’s clear distracted in his upper works. He ain't responsible fer the names he's give me, nor fer his other statements.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Aug. 14/4: ‘Bit soft in the upper storey, is he?’ said the medicine man.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Aug. 36/1: But Governments now is soft in the brainy upper loft.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 226: He’s a bit rocky in the upper storey, nowadays.
[US]W. Edge Main Stem 129: He’s a horse’s behind. Somepin wrong in a upper story I b’leeve.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Coonardoo 300: She was a bit gone in the upper storey.
E. Pound Imaginary Letters 37: His top layer, or his upper story.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 36: Life isn’t in the upper storey: life is now.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 53: They must have screws loose in their upper story.
[US]A. James ‘Body ona White Carpet’ in Best of Manhunt (2019) [ebook] A high class dish like her would dig upper story music.
[UK]R. Dahl Rhyme Stew (1990) 24: By gum, I never would have guessed / An ancient bird like you possessed / Such genius in your upper storey!
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 343: soft in the upper works.

2. (US) the female breasts.

[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 106: She is some on upper works, and no mistake. Who is she?
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
upper ten

see separate entries.

upper tog (n.) (also upper togger, upper toggery) [SE upper + togs n.]

a greatcoat, an overcoat.

[UK]Sporting Mag. Mar. 280/1: Say nothing; leave all to me: you shall slip on my lily shallow and upper toggery.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: And with his upper togger gay, / Prepared to toddle swift away.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 309: To Philip Timothy Splinter, Esq., I bequeath my upper tog, my Benjaman, my wrapper, generally called a top coat.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 4 June 3/3: Dressed in a red, white, and blue linsey-wolsey upper tog.

In phrases

have one’s upper storey unfurnished (v.) (also have one’s upper garret unfurnished, …story…)

to be a fool (cf. garret n. (1)).

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Upper Story or Garreet. Figuratively used to signify the Head. This upper Story (or Garret) is Unfurnished, or empty, i.e. he is a silly fellow.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd edn) n.p.: upper story, or garret Figuratively used to signify the head. His upper story or garrets are unfurnished; i.e. he is an empty or foolish fellow.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 265: ‘His upper story is unfurnished,’ i.e., he does not know very much.
[Aus]‘Henry Handel Richardson’ Aus. Felix (1971) 103: What do you say to that, eh? Unfurnished in the upper storey, what? Heh, heh, heh!