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be kicked upstairs

To be promoted to a higher role or position in a company that has little actual responsibility or authority. John was kicked upstairs to an assistant manager position so he would stop griping about his pay.
See also: kick, upstairs

nothing upstairs

Fig. no brains; stupid. Tom is sort of stupid. You know—nothing upstairs. I know what's wrong with you. Nothing upstairs.
See also: nothing, upstairs

kick somebody upstairs

to give someone a new job which seems more powerful but is really less powerful, usually in order to stop them causing trouble for you Brown is being kicked upstairs to become chairman of the new company.
See also: kick, upstairs

kick upstairs

Promote someone to a higher but less desirable position, especially one with less authority. For example, Paul never forgave the company for kicking him upstairs at age 55. This expression alludes to its antonym, kick downstairs, simply meaning "eject." [Mid-1900s]
See also: kick, upstairs

nothing upstairs

phr. no brains; stupid. Tom is sort of stupid acting. You know—nothing upstairs. I know what’s wrong with you. Nothing upstairs.
See also: nothing, upstairs

kick upstairs

To promote to a higher yet less desirable position.
See also: kick, upstairs
References in classic literature ?
The doctor having been upstairs and come down again, and having satisfied himself, I suppose, that there was a probability of this unknown lady and himself having to sit there, face to face, for some hours, laid himself out to be polite and social.
They went upstairs, and for five minutes all was silence.
Wait a moment," I said, and jumped up, upsetting my wine to run upstairs as fast as I could.
If we had known you had a lady upstairs," replied Athos, with his customary coolness, "we would have asked permission to pay our respects to her.
Her brother Petya was upstairs too; with the man in attendance on him he was preparing fireworks to let off that night.
I am wondering whether I should confess or brazen it out, when I hear my sister going hurriedly upstairs.
Here's a bundle of old letters I found in that closet upstairs when I came here," she said.
Now, Charles, give me your arm and I shall go upstairs.
I must and will know what's going on upstairs,' he says.
He rang the bell, and directed the man who answered it to send one of the chambermaids upstairs.
You will find your singing-master waiting for you upstairs.
Well, one day Aunt Nellie came to me and said, `Cornelia, there is a little brother for you upstairs in your ma's room.
The attendants were not slow to echo the sigh, and Miss Knag was apparently on the eve of favouring them with some further moral reflections, when the voice of Madame Mantalini, conveyed through the speaking-tube, ordered Miss Nickleby upstairs to assist in the arrangement of the show-room; a distinction which caused Miss Knag to toss her head so much, and bite her lips so hard, that her powers of conversation were, for the time, annihilated.
He went immediately out, and, taking the candle from the maid, ushered his visitant upstairs, who, in the person of Mrs Honour, acquainted him with such dreadful news concerning his Sophia, that he immediately lost all consideration for every other person; and his whole stock of compassion was entirely swallowed up in reflections on his own misery, and on that of his unfortunate angel.
They passed upstairs, kissed, and amidst the endless iterations fell asleep.