Definition of backstairs in US English:


plural noun

  • Stairs at the back or side of a building.

    • ‘She used the backstairs so she wouldn't see Jared yet.’
    • ‘Places (we often called them that instead of farms) that I knew about all had either stairs or backstairs to the servants quarters, so I was quite surprised to see that at Beamish ladders had been the order of the day.’
    • ‘Just prior to the formal tour I led an unofficial tour of random colleagues from assorted units on a wild goose chase round the backstairs.’
    • ‘She weaved through a couple occupied tables before clambering up the backstairs to the apartment up above.’
    • ‘The voices emanate from the kitchen, at first, but soon she hears the sound of feet running up the backstairs - closely followed by set of heavier footsteps.’
    • ‘He slipped into the alley and up the backstairs.’
    • ‘And say, ‘Let's get a hustle on back down backstairs, this wind is about to blow us both overboard!’’
    • ‘I suddenly heard scuffling about down the hall, so I proceeded carefully down to the small chapel down the hall, near the backstairs that led down to the kitchen.’
    • ‘Sam grabbed her hand and pulled her up the backstairs to his room.’
    • ‘Mallory quietly went up the backstairs and stopped in the library facing four huge walls full of all sorts of books.’
    • ‘The handrail was highly polished and unlike the dark and narrow backstairs there was no squeaky stair, no stair you had to avoid for fear your foot would fall through.’
    • ‘‘And he wonder's why I worry,’ she mumbled a she rushed down the backstairs hoping to surprise the fighting party.’
    • ‘Regardless, I sat outside on the backstairs watching the jackdaws gathering above and the sheep on the mountain opposite.’
    • ‘He sipped the coffee while she went up the backstairs.’
    • ‘He ran down the backstairs to the pool and into the diner so that none of them will know he had done it.’


  • attributive Underhanded or clandestine.

    ‘I won't make backstairs deals with politicians’
    deceitful, underhanded, dishonest, dishonourable, disreputable, unethical, unprincipled, immoral, unscrupulous, fraudulent, cheating, dubious, dirty, unfair, treacherous, duplicitous, double-dealing, below the belt, two-timing, two-faced, janus-faced, unsporting, unsportsmanlike
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