AskDefine | Define upright

Dictionary Definition

upright adj
1 in a vertical position; not sloping; "an upright post" [syn: unsloped]
2 of moral excellence; "a genuinely good person"; "a just cause"; "an upright and respectable man"; "the life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous"- Frederick Douglass [syn: good, just, virtuous]
3 erect in posture; "behind him sat old man Arthur; he was straight with something angry in his attitude"; "stood defiantly with unbowed back" [syn: straight, unbent, unbowed]
4 maintaining an erect position; "standing timber"; "many buildings were still standing" [syn: standing] [ant: falling]
5 upright in position or posture; "an erect stature"; "erect flower stalks"; "for a dog, an erect tail indicates aggression"; "a column still vertical amid the ruins"; "he sat bolt upright" [syn: erect, vertical] [ant: unerect]


1 a vertical structural member as a post or stake; "the ball sailed between the uprights" [syn: vertical]
2 a piano with a vertical sounding board [syn: upright piano]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Vertical; erect.
  2. Greater in height than breadth.


Vertical; erect
Greater in height than breadth


  1. In or into an upright position.


  1. Any vertical part of a structure, especially one of the goal posts in American and Rugby football.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

"Forward" redirects here. For the writing foreword, see Foreword.
"Left and right" redirects here. For the libertarian journal edited by Murray N. Rothbard, see Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought.
The most common relative directions are left, right, forward, backward, up, and down.
No absolute direction corresponds to any of the relative directions. This is a consequence of the translational invariance of the laws of physics: nature, loosely speaking, behaves the same no matter what direction one moves. As demonstrated by the Michelson-Morley null result, there is no absolute inertial frame of reference.
There are definite relationships between the relative directions, however. Left and right, forward and backward, and up and down are three complementary pairs orthogonal to each other. If you climb a rope one meter up, you will have moved negative one meter down. Furthermore, you will not have moved left or right at all, nor forward or backward. One must mind the geometry of his environment when using relative direction to express motion, however. For example, if you continue walking forward until you have almost circumnavigated the Earth, you will expend much effort only to move backward slightly. This is because, on Earth, we use a spherical coordinate system wherein the direction vectors depend on position.
The right-hand rule is one common way to relate the three principal directions. (See below to decide which is your right hand.) For many years a fundamental question in physics was whether a left-hand rule would be equivalent. Many natural structures, including our own bodies, follow a certain handedness, but it was widely assumed that nature did not distinguish the two possibilities. This changed with the discovery of parity violations in particle physics. If you magnetize a sample of cobalt-60 atoms so that they spin counterclockwise around some axis, the beta radiation resulting from their nuclear decay will be preferentially directed opposite that axis. Since counterclockwise may be defined in terms of up, forward, and right, this experiment unambiguously differentiates left from right using only natural elements: If they were reversed, or the atoms spun clockwise, the radiation would follow the spin axis instead of being opposite to it.
This definition of left and right is unwieldy. In practice, the meaning of relative direction words is conveyed through tradition, acculturation, education, and direct reference.
One common definition of up and down uses gravity and the planet Earth as a frame of reference. Since there is a very noticeable force of gravity acting between the Earth and any other nearby object, down is defined as that direction which an object moves in reference to the Earth when the object is allowed to fall freely. Up is then defined as the opposite direction of down. Another common definition uses a human body, standing upright, as a frame of reference. In that case, up is defined as the direction from feet to head, perpendicular to the surface of the Earth.
Forward and backward may be defined by referring to an object or person's motion. Forward is defined as the direction in which the object is moving. Backward is then defined as the opposite of forward. Alternately, forward may be the direction pointed by the observer's nose, defining backward as the direction from the nose to the sagittal border in the observer's skull.
The terms left and right are derived from the fact that some 90% of the population use the hand of the same side of their body for writing and other manual tasks. Through cognate of the word right in the meaning correct or good, the side with the hand most used was defined as the right side. The word left comes from the Old English lyft, meaning weak. This dichotomy can also be seen in the words dextrous and sinister, from the Latin words for right and left. In order to figure out which hand is which you will need a clock, a compass, and the sun. Face the sun and check the compass. In the northern hemisphere, before noon, the compass points to your left hand. After noon, it points to your right. The opposite is true of the southern hemisphere.
In most people, the heart is to the left of the body's center line and the liver is to the right.


In this diagram, showing a road with right-hand traffic, the red car is to the left of the blue car. The blue car is, therefore, on the right-hand side. Should the blue car move backward, it would reach the position of the yellow car, causing an accident. For the red car to be where the green car is, it would have to move forward.
The lane containing the green and red cars is the left lane, the lane with the yellow and blue cars is the right lane.

Left/right confusion

Left/right confusion is the difficulty some people have in distinguishing the difference between the directions left and right. Dyslexia is one of several conditions that affects a person's ability to quickly and easily consciously realize the difference.
upright in German: Links und rechts
upright in Hebrew: ימין ושמאל (כיוונים במרחב)
upright in Latvian: Relatīvs virziens
upright in Dutch: Links en rechts (richting)
upright in Portuguese: Posição relativa
upright in Chinese: 相对方位

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Christian, Klavier, Samson post, Steinway, angelic, arrowlike, at attention, azimuth circle, baby grand, baluster, balustrade, banister, base, blameless, bolt upright, caryatid, cast up, cembalo, clarichord, clavicembalo, clavichord, clavicittern, clavicymbal, clavicytherium, clavier, clean, colonnade, column, concert grand, conscientious, cottage piano, couched harp, creditable, dado, dead straight, decent, die, direct, doorjamb, doorpost, downright, dulcimer harpsichord, elevate, elevated, endways, endwise, equitable, erect, erectly, estimable, ethical, even, exalted, exemplary, fair, flat, footstalk, full of integrity, gatepost, godly, good, grand, grand piano, hammer dulcimer, harmonichord, harpsichord, high, high-minded, high-principled, highly respectable, hitching post, honest, honorable, horizontal, immaculate, impartial, in a line, incorruptible, inviolate, irreproachable, jack, jamb, just, king post, law-abiding, law-loving, law-revering, level, lift up, lifted, lineal, linear, lofty, manichord, manichordon, manly, melodion, melopiano, milepost, monochord, moral, mullion, newel-post, noble, normal, on end, on stilts, orthodiagonal, pair of virginals, parlor grand, pedestal, pedicel, peduncle, perpendicular, perpendicularly, pianette, pianino, piano, piano-violin, pianoforte, pier, pilaster, pile, piling, pillar, pitch, plinth, plumb, pole, post, principled, pure, queen-post, raise, raise aloft, raise up, raised, rampant, rear, rear aloft, rearing, rectilineal, rectilinear, reputable, respectable, right, right angle, right on end, right-minded, righteous, ruler-straight, saintlike, saintly, scrupulous, seraphic, set up, shaft, signpost, smooth, snubbing post, socle, sostinente pianoforte, spinet, spotless, square piano, staff, stainless, stalk, stanchion, stand, stand upright, stand-up, standard, standing up, stem, sterling, stile, stilted, straight, straight-cut, straight-front, straight-side, straight-up, straightforward, streamlined, subbase, sublime, surbase, true, true-dealing, true-devoted, true-disposing, true-souled, true-spirited, truehearted, trunk, trustworthy, unbending, unbent, unblemished, unbowed, unbroken, uncorrupt, uncorrupted, uncurved, undefiled, undeflected, undeviating, undistorted, unimpeachable, uninterrupted, unspotted, unstained, unsullied, unswerving, untarnished, unturned, up, up on end, upcast, upend, upended, upflung, upheave, uplift, uplifted, upraise, upraised, uprear, upreared, upright piano, uprighteous, uprightly, upstanding, upstandingly, upthrown, upwards, vertical, vertical circle, violin piano, virginal, virtuous, worthy, yeomanly
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