from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Haughty or presumptuous, especially for one's rank or social standing.
  • adjective Not complacent or deferential; strongly self-assertive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Presumptuous, above oneself, self-important; arrogant, snobbish, haughty.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective presumptuously arrogant


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From up.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Fanciful extension of up.


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  • They start cursing what they call "uppity Catalans," accusing Barcelona - the capital of Catalonia - of turning the world against bullfighting.

    NPR Topics: News 2011

  • They start cursing what they call "uppity Catalans," accusing Barcelona - the capital of Catalonia - of turning the world against bullfighting.

    NPR Topics: News 2011

  • What are people actually saying when you hear the word uppity in association with Senator Barack Obama?

    CNN Transcript Jul 31, 2008 2008

  • So when Olbermann asks Obama to respond to an ugly use of the word uppity, Obama just laughs when we expected anger.

    Linda Bergthold: The War of the Lizard Brains 2008

  • "I think the word uppity was invented so they'd have something to call you."

    Homebody Card, Orson Scott 1998

  • We've already seen "uppity" - are we going to see some Repub drop an N-bomb before the end, with others jumping in to legitimize it as part of the political discourse?

    TPM Track Composite: Obama Ahead By Six Points 2009

  • Or called him "uppity" -- on at least two occasions.

    Archive 2008-01-01 2008

  • As I mentioned in my pre-election article, one southern politician even called him "uppity" -- and then denied that that had a racial connotation.

    Sasha Abramsky: The Long Exhale 2008

  • As Ron Christie demonstrates in his recent book, Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur, the notion that blacks who sought social, cultural or intellectual advancement were "acting white" was a slur that originated during slavery and Reconstruction as a way for whites to keep down so-called "uppity" blacks.

    The Racial Biases of Duke Hating 2011

  • Meanwhile Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland calling the Obamas "uppity" -- a slur that is one more downed beer away from being nigger -- barely got a register out of the left.

    John Ridley: Obama Gets Tough. Too Little, Too Late? 2008


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  • An illiterate and somewhat vitriolic blog post I read today, in which the author calls Jesse Jackson an "uppity busybody," reminded me that I have rarely heard this word when it didn't apply specifically to African-Americans. Growing up in the US south, I was taught that there were two kinds of African-Americans--uppity ones and those who knew their place ("humble" being the code word that was most often used).

    Interesting post, coming from a blog that describes itself as "A conservative journal of social, cultural, and ecclesiatical affairs grounded in a realistic Catholic Christian worldview. It is my hope that this site will be a reflection of Christ, the teachings of His Holy Church, and of the basic vision of a Christian social morality."

    July 18, 2008

  • Int'restin'. I wouldn't have connected this word with race at all. I remember as a kid, there was a Mr Man called Mr Uppity.

    July 18, 2008

  • Growing up in the South during the 50s and 60s was a unique cultural experience, yarb. We had separate "white" and "colored" store entrances, drinking fountains, theaters, and waiting areas--all clearly marked as such.

    July 18, 2008

  • Georgia GOP congressman calls Obamas `uppity' (AP/September 5, 2008)

    Democrats are calling on a Republican congressman from Georgia to apologize for referring to Barack and Michelle Obama as "uppity," but the lawmaker stood by his comments and said he meant no offense.

    Speaking to reporters Thursday, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Grantville, Ga., described the Obamas as members of an "elitist-class ... that thinks that they're uppity," according to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

    Asked to clarify whether he intended to use the word, he said, "Yeah, uppity."

    In a statement Friday, Westmoreland — a white man who was born in 1950 and raised in the segregated South — said he didn't know that "uppity" was commonly used as a derogatory term for blacks seeking equal treatment. Instead, he referred to the dictionary definition of the word as describing someone who is haughty, snobbish or has inflated self-esteem.

    September 7, 2008

  • Referring back to skipvia's comments below... If a Georgia congressman raised in the segregated South truly has no idea of the racist connotation of using the word "uppity" in reference to African Americans... I can't really imagine that he didn't know, or he'd be too ignorant to be holding office.

    But then, looking at his record (as reported in the same article), it's hard to believe he really "meant no offense." ("...last year ... he led opposition to renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He also was one of two House members last year who opposed giving the Justice Department more money to crack unsolved civil rights killings.") Great work, congressman.

    September 7, 2008

  • As Stephen Colbert pointed out last night, this is the same Congressman who pushed to have the Ten Commandments displayed in state courthouses and even in the House and Senate, but when asked by Colbert to list the Commandments (on the Better Know a District segment), he could name only three.

    September 7, 2008

  • Ohhh... so maybe he really is that ignorant. *facepalm*

    Thanks for the info, lampbane.

    September 7, 2008

  • "Uppity" is a code word in the same vein as states' rights and family values. Westmoreland knew exactly what he was saying and exactly who he was saying it to. A dog-whistle if there ever was one.

    September 7, 2008

  • You're right, of course. I'd rather publicly call the man stupid than a blatant racist, but as you said... He knew what he was saying.

    I forgot about the term dog-whistle. Thanks for reminding me. I'm sure it will come in handy in the coming weeks. (Sadly.)

    September 7, 2008

  • "My, but aren't you getting uppity an' all?" The Shack by WM Paul

    October 1, 2010