on (one's) uppers
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on (one's) uppers
Having no money; broke. The phrase was originally used to describe people who were so poor that they had worn their shoes down to the uppers (the part of the shoe above the sole). I'm down on my uppers this week, so can we go out for drinks next week, after I get paid? My mother was always slipping money into the hands of our friends she thought were on their uppers.
on one's uppers
Poor, in reduced circumstances, as in as in The Smiths try to hide the fact that they're on their uppers. First recorded in 1886, this metaphoric term alludes to having worn out the soles of one's shoes so badly that only the top portions remain.
on your uppersor
down on your uppersBRITISH, INFORMAL, OLD-FASHIONED
If a person or a company is on their uppers or down on their uppers, they have very little money. The company is on its uppers and shareholders can forget about receiving dividends for a couple of years. Simon pays cash for his ceramics because he finds so many potters are down on their uppers. Note: The upper of a shoe is the top part of it, which is attached to the sole and heel. If you are on your uppers, you have worn through the sole and heel.
on your uppersextremely short of money. informal
In this expression, worn-out shoes are taken as an indication of someone's poverty; the upper is the part of a shoe above the sole, which is all that is left after the sole has been worn away.
on your ˈuppers(British English, informal) having very little money: Joe paid for lunch, which was great because we were both on our uppers, as usual. OPPOSITE: (be) rolling in it/money Uppers refers to the top part of a boot or shoe. If you are walking on your uppers, your shoes are old and worn down.
on (one's) uppersInformal