Definition of on one's uppers in US English:

on one's uppers


  • Extremely short of money.

    • ‘Her favourite characters are those on their uppers, losers with dignity, viewed by the story teller with patronising assumptions but to the end deeply unknown.’
    • ‘A timeless comedy, this story is about the upper classes on their uppers while the inimitable Jeeves is always on hand to sort out their mess.’
    • ‘In early 1938, on his uppers after his divorce from Flor, he had agreed to smuggle a small fortune in jewels out of Spain during the civil war.’
    • ‘After years on his uppers, Jack Vettriano was finally on the up.’
    • ‘But new research suggests that far from being on their uppers, people approaching retirement today are better off than their parents' generation was when it retired, with small debts and big assets.’
    • ‘Both characters are on their uppers and Anna's way out is to find someone to pay for her and look after her.’
    penniless, impoverished, poverty-stricken, poor, destitute, impecunious, indigent, down and out, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
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