upper crust

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First known use as an idiom: 1836.



upper crust ‎(plural upper crusts)

  1. Used other than as an idiom: see upper,‎ crust. The topmost layer of a bread, pastry dish, or other item with a hardened coating.
    • 1871, Louisa May Alcott, Little Men, ch. 20:
      She went to get her tarts . . . but some one had stolen all the fruit out of them by lifting up the upper crust.
  2. (idiomatic, usually with the) The social elite, the highest social class.
    • 1894, Mark Twain, "A Little Note to M. Paul Bourget" in Essays on Paul Bourget:
      I judged from your remark about the diligence and industry of the high Parisian upper crust that it would have some point.
    • 2006 June 18, J. F. O. McAllister, "A New Kind of Elite," Time:
      Some accents reveal the distinctive bray of the upper crust, but most are generic middle class.


Derived terms[edit]


upper crust ‎(comparative more upper crust, superlative most upper crust)

  1. Alternative form of upper-crust