Definition of backstairs in English:


plural noun

  • Stairs at the back or side of a building.

    • ‘‘And he wonder's why I worry,’ she mumbled a she rushed down the backstairs hoping to surprise the fighting party.’
    • ‘Mallory quietly went up the backstairs and stopped in the library facing four huge walls full of all sorts of books.’
    • ‘Sam grabbed her hand and pulled her up the backstairs to his room.’
    • ‘He slipped into the alley and up the backstairs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Regardless, I sat outside on the backstairs watching the jackdaws gathering above and the sheep on the mountain opposite.’
    • ‘And say, ‘Let's get a hustle on back down backstairs, this wind is about to blow us both overboard!’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 used the backstairs so she wouldn't see Jared yet.’


  • [attributive] Underhanded or clandestine.

    ‘I won't make backstairs deals with politicians’
    • ‘Was there a motive at work under this strange reluctance of his which had a sort of backstairs influence, not admitted to himself?’
    • ‘No praise is high enough for him… over recent weeks he has been victim of critical backstairs briefing from senior colleagues against his decision to highlight immigration as an election issue and other alleged mistakes.’
    • ‘The surprise leaks and backstairs briefings are familiar after six years in government, as is the whiff of intrigue and rivalry between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.’
    • ‘He reveals details of boardroom machinations and backstairs skirmishes which only a fly on the wall could have witnessed.’
    • ‘The real reason is that she is ashamed of New Labour's backstairs manoeuvres to starve the nursery nurses back to work.’
    • ‘Had this questionnaire been produced two years ago, before Museum Services were accused (no doubt unjustly) of backstairs negotiations, the questions would have been highly appropriate.’
    • ‘Think bewildering numbers of parties, unexpected coalitions and backstairs scheming - but in the end it's the monopoly man that wins out.’
    • ‘He got the white heat of corruption thanks to a Yorkshire architect who was later convicted for his part in a scandal of backstairs planning and bribes.’
    • ‘This redoubtable lady had to be shown a backstairs exit to a seedy little alley behind the building where the Lib Dems announced the result of their leadership race on Thursday, so that she could have a fag.’
    • ‘He said: ‘I sense that there may be the stench of a backstairs stitch-up.’’
    • ‘The camp has felt able to display a high degree of serenity in recent days, affecting a distance from the apparent skullduggery and backstairs dealings, in the sincere belief that things are moving the Chancellor's way.’
    • ‘The real strength of his play lies in its backstairs portrait of the horrors of English hotel life.’
    • ‘Eager hints would become rhapsodic proclamations; backstairs whispers would be babbled aloud in the corridors of the complex.’
    • ‘There has been some backstairs grumbling by elected officials who signed on with him during the dot-com-boom phase of his candidacy, but his union support is holding firm.’
    • ‘The book uses the fourth Doha meeting to trace how the so called Quad - the US, EU, Canada and Japan - use backstairs intrigue and ‘green room meetings’ to get their way.’
    • ‘However, Article 51 seals the churches' special status and lends them yet more opportunity for backstairs dealing, without being subject to the same democratic checks and balances as the rest of civil society.’
    • ‘Insurers are increasingly refusing to pay cash to claimants because they can cut costs by replacing goods through backstairs deals with store groups.’
    • ‘The images of abuse of royal power and of backstairs corruption are the main issues that he must counter.’
    • ‘He, on the other hand, loves the intrigue, the subtle manipulation, the backstairs chicanery, and there's no one better to convey it.’
    • ‘It is truly incredible that the favoured solution for politicians of all persuasions in the current scandal about undeclared backstairs loans is that we, the taxpayers, should be the solution.’
    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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