from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- all those parts of the hull of a vessel that are properly above water.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Maigret went on to the lock-bridge; thence he had a glimpse of two dredgers — monstrous contraptions, their complicated upper works all caked with rust — made fast to the bank.
"Face," repeated the young lady patiently, "or face'n shoulders, or …," she fluttered graceful fingers at Annette's upper works "… the whole shebang?"
When the REDOUTABLE had struck, it was not practicable to board her from the VICTORY; for, though the two ships touched, the upper works of both fell in so much, that there was a great space between their gangways; and she could not be boarded from the lower or middle decks because her ports were down.
The former did not seem much injured, but the latter had evidently suffered heavily, the port bow being partially stove, the upper works demolished, and the armouring tremendously battered and dinted.
As Arethusa and her destroyers closed in to rescue survivors, Tyrwhitt observed that Blücher “was in a pitiable condition — all her upper works [were] wrecked and fires could be seen raging between decks through enormous holes in her sides.”
At Kupang no means of refitting the worn-out pump or of pitching the leaky seams in the upper works of the boat were obtainable; and Flinders had to face a run across the Indian Ocean with the prospect of having to keep down the water with an impaired equipment.