Definition of upstage in English:

upstage

adverb & adjective

  • 1At or towards the back of a theatre stage.

    as adverb ‘Hamlet turns to face upstage’
    as adjective ‘an upstage exit’
    • ‘As the audience entered the stage was set up as a shabby music room: there was a straight-backed piano upstage right and various basic wooden chairs arranged with music stands.’
    • ‘The set designed by Rosas consisted of gauzy drapery of brilliant yellow hung in scallops across the center stage, while a somber gray archway loomed behind it upstage center.’
    • ‘With stage shutters open to reveal a large drawing-room extending upstage, the partygoers are grouped around different card tables and involved in their card games.’
    • ‘The worthy fellow travels with heavy heart all the way to Bohemia, there to abandon the babe, whereupon he exits upstage right.’
    • ‘He stands and using his cane starts to exit upstage.’
    • ‘Complete with all the amenities you'd find in an office, desk, chairs, computers, water fountain; you could also see a second office through the door upstage.’
    • ‘A life-size living room contrasts nicely with a miniature house, a full-size segment of a ship downstage with the entire ship in miniature upstage.’
    • ‘The dancers marched upstage and down in front of the upstage screen.’
    • ‘They part to reveal a man hanging upside down from a wall upstage, and a woman, standing in a spotlight down stage, reaching out to him.’
    • ‘The sounds of a music box shifted into gusting wind as one group of dancers exited upstage while another solemnly entered.’
    • ‘With a sigh, she sat down on the brown, wooden stairs that led upstage.’
    • ‘His set was ingenious: An upstage curtain glided laterally, exposing a background that changed color and shape as dancers entered and exited in silhouette.’
    • ‘What I question is Zeffirelli's decision to set the action in what looks like a mix of Art Deco hotel lobby and theatre foyer, with a fake audience on stage and characters making upstage entrances through a false arch.’
    • ‘Dominating the upstage wall is a crude collage of dust-weathered letters that provides a screen on which slides are projected.’
    • ‘While the front of the stage was visible, upstage was hidden behind patched curtains of a faded blue with gold trim.’
    • ‘Kit Conner enters upstage left and crosses to downstage right and sits down on the table with feet on chair.’
    • ‘The work begins with first one, then another of the dancers, wearing dark business suits and carrying metal briefcases, coming onstage, then moving in repetitive phalanx formations, upstage to down.’
    • ‘I went behind the upstage curtain, a place I had never been.’
    • ‘Taylor's set employs a ballet bar set diagonally upstage from down stage right.’
    • ‘The moment passed and the four resumed their explorations, eventually exiting upstage.’
  • 2dated, informal as adjective Superior; aloof.

    ‘this upstage reserve is rather ridiculous’

verb

  • 1with object Divert attention from (someone) towards oneself.

    ‘they were totally upstaged by their co-star in the film’
    • ‘Caroline looked beautiful and stole the show but she was nearly upstaged by the hat worn by her future mother-in-law Kate Loughran.’
    • ‘Phelps is threatening to even upstage Aussie sensation Ian Thorpe and their battle in the 200m freestyle promises to be one of the great highlights of the Games.’
    • ‘Moreover, she danced to the tunes, even upstaging the professional dancers.’
    • ‘Some people say the they upstaged us but we're not concerned about these things.’
    • ‘There have been times when we played together and I upstaged my father.’
    • ‘It's an unwritten rule of weddings that you don't upstage the bride on her big day.’
    • ‘Glen is a team player, never in the business of upstaging his colleagues.’
    • ‘Never again can a Prime Minister allow his number two to upstage him like that.’
    • ‘Rebecca later denied claims that the star had attempted to upstage her.’
    • ‘He is furious with them for upstaging him on this political issue.’
    • ‘Do people try to upstage the bride and turn up in purple satin wedding dresses?’
    • ‘His young son, David Junior - who also featured in Bugsy Malone at the Forum - came close to upstaging his Dad on this occasion, playing not one, but two roles as one of the monkeys and one of the crows.’
    • ‘Personally, I thought he was probably an attention seeker attempting to upstage me.’
    • ‘But it does have a tremendous knack for upstaging its neighbour.’
    • ‘Though she gave a sharp, sassy performance, she was upstaged by the ample curves of Marilyn Monroe.’
    • ‘It is so heavily plot-driven, and you do feel you're upstaged by the props.’
    • ‘Give them a chance to make an exhibition of themselves and these two never miss the opportunity, as they did while attempting to upstage the president's address to Parliament.’
    • ‘Her power lay in her beauty and she used it as a weapon, dressing to please, to tease and even, on one mischievous occasion, to upstage her husband.’
    • ‘No spectacle could upstage the old soldiers, their recollections filled not with tales of their own part in the liberation, but with tributes to their comrades who fought and fell alongside them.’
    • ‘Bart attempts to upstage Lisa when the pair co-host a children's news program.’
    surpass, outshine, do better than
    View synonyms
  • 2(of an actor) move towards the back of a stage to make (another actor) face away from the audience.

    ‘when he tried to upstage her she sauntered down to the front of the stage’
    • ‘Actors find little pleasure in being upstaged.’
    • ‘The actors upstage each other, and sometimes abandon the stage altogether, as part of this approach.’

Pronunciation

upstage

/ʌpˈsteɪdʒ/