above /əˈbʌv/


I. preposition

1. in extended space over and not touching

a display of fireworks above the town
a cable runs above the duct.
2. extending upwards over

she held her arms above her head.
3. higher than and to one side of; overlooking

in the hills above the capital
on the wall above the altar.
4. at a higher level or layer than

from his flat above the corner shop
bruises above both eyes.
5. higher in grade or rank than

at a level above the common people.
6. considered of higher status or worth than; too good for

she married above her.
7. in preference to

the firm cynically chose profit above car safety.
8. at a higher volume or pitch than

he seldom spoke above a whisper
the doorbell went unheard above the din.
9. higher than (a specified amount, rate, or norm)

the food was well above average
above sea level.
II. adverb

1. at a higher level or layer

place a quantity of mud in a jar with water above.
2. higher in grade or rank

an officer of the rank of superintendent or above.
3. higher than a specified amount, rate, or norm

boats of 31 ft or above.
4. (in printed text) mentioned earlier or further up on the same page

the two cases described above
see above left
[as adj.]
at the above address
[as noun]
since writing the above, I have reconsidered.
III. phrases

1. above all (else)
more so than anything else

he was concerned above all to speak the truth.
2. above and beyond
a. in excess of the expectations or demands of

she was always there to help us out in difficult times, above and beyond the call of duty.
b. in addition to

you might consider giving employees an extra day or two off each quarter, above and beyond sick days.
3. above oneself
conceited; arrogant

he’s getting a bit above himself.
4. above the law
in a position where one can avoid being bound by the laws that govern ordinary people

the army was above the law and enjoyed complete impunity.
5. from above
a. from overhead

branches rained from above.
b. from a position of higher rank or authority

mass culture is imposed from above.
6. not be above
be capable of stooping to (an unworthy act)

he was not above practical jokes.
7. up above
above one’s head; overhead

we heard a sudden rumbling from up above.
– origin Old English abufan (as an adverb), from a- ‘on’ + bufan (from bi ‘by’ + ufan ‘above’).

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