Other forms: upstaged; upstaging; upstages

To upstage is to steal the show. If you try to upstage your Grease costar, you'll attempt to pull the audience's attention away from him and onto you at the back of the stage doing cartwheels.

A child actor might accidentally upstage an adult simply by being adorable, or a minor character could upstage the star of a play with an amazing performance. When you upstage someone, the audience's focus shifts from that person to you. Another way to use the verb upstage is to describe the acting technique of moving back on the stage, away from the audience, so that another actor must turn her back toward them.

Definitions of upstage
  1. adverb
    at or toward the rear of the stage
    “the dancers were directed to move upstage
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    at or toward the front of the stage
  2. verb
    steal the show, draw attention to oneself away from someone else
    “When the dog entered the stage, he upstaged the actress”
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    type of:
    attract more attention and praise than others
  3. verb
    move upstage, forcing the other actors to turn away from the audience
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    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  4. verb
    treat snobbishly, put in one's place
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    type of:
    do by, handle, treat
    interact in a certain way
  5. noun
    the rear part of the stage
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    type of:
    part, portion
    something less than the whole of a human artifact
  6. adjective
    of the back half of a stage
    “she crossed to the upstage chair forcing the lead to turn his back to the audience”
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    of the front half of a stage
  7. adjective
    remote in manner
    “he was upstage with strangers”
    synonyms: aloof, distant, remote
    marked by self-restraint and reticence
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘upstage'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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