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 www.dolemite.com [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, ...loft, …story, ...works)

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!