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Related to kick upstairs: kicking around
kick (one) upstairs
To promote one to a position that is higher but undesirable or that has little actual responsibility or authority. They kicked John upstairs to an assistant manager position so he would stop griping about his pay.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To promote to a higher yet less desirable position.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
kick upstairs, to
To promote someone to a higher rank with less responsibility in order to get him or her out of the way. Although one may tend to associate this expression with modern business practices, it was already being used in the early nineteenth century. J. W. Croker recorded it in an 1821 diary entry: “Lord Melville informs me that he is about to be kicked upstairs (his expression) to be Secretary of State.”
See also: kick
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer