Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
Related to backstairs: backstairs gossip


 (băk′stârz′) also back·stair (-stâr′)
Furtively carried on; clandestine: backstairs gossip.
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.


(ˈbækˈstɛəz) or


pl n
(Building) a secondary staircase in a house, esp one originally for the use of servants
underhand: backstairs gossip.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



also back′stair′,

secret, underhanded, or scandalous: backstairs gossip.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.backstairs - a second staircase at the rear of a buildingbackstairs - a second staircase at the rear of a building
staircase, stairway - a way of access (upward and downward) consisting of a set of steps
plural, plural form - the form of a word that is used to denote more than one
Adj.1.backstairs - secret and sly or sordidbackstairs - secret and sly or sordid; "backstairs gossip"; "his low backstairs cunning"- A.L.Guerard; "backstairs intimacies"; "furtive behavior"
covert - secret or hidden; not openly practiced or engaged in or shown or avowed; "covert actions by the CIA"; "covert funding for the rebels"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


A. NPLescalera f de servicio
B. CPD [staff] → de servicio; [work] → doméstico (fig) [gossip, plot] → clandestino, subrepticio
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈbækˈstɛəz] nplscala sg di servizio
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
Other feet were already in the lower flight of the backstairs; but the upper flight was the one for me, and in an instant we were racing along the upper corridor with the chuckle-headed pack at our heels.
Alec, opening the door and letting her enter before him, while Phebe was seen whisking down the backstairs with a dust-pan.
Was there a motive at work under this strange reluctance of Arthur's which had a sort of backstairs influence, not admitted to himself?
Now, Jane, trip on before us away to the backstairs; unbolt the side-passage door, and tell the driver of the post-chaise you will see in the yard--or just outside, for I told him not to drive his rattling wheels over the pavement--to be ready; we are coming: and, Jane, if any one is about, come to the foot of the stairs and hem."
Eight of them she owned, and she kept them in a little place fenced around on her backstairs. All day long the children of Aniele were raking in the dump for food for these chickens; and sometimes, when the competition there was too fierce, you might see them on Halsted Street walking close to the gutters, and with their mother following to see that no one robbed them of their finds.
I think I loved living in that house, as I would sit by the window looking at people passing by, and at the backstairs eating avocado fallen from a tree in the yard.
When the Conservative candidates for the party leadership finish throwing mud at each other; the backstairs bazaar and trading cease; and the creation of the next prime minister is in full swing, let us all rally behind the new leader, join the party political chorus, raise the banners, sound the trumpets and charge in full cry: Vive la liberte !
In the Commons, Tory MP Mark Francois said: "We all want to see the Northern Ireland Executive re-established but that cannot be at the price of some rancid backstairs deal between the Northern Ireland Office and Sinn Fein IRA."
This lady seems to prefer the backstairs though, although mysterious forms have also been seen in the grounds and hovering over the pond.
Achieving these big aims required constantly operating in the ordinary political realm to hold the pro-Union coalition together--not all of whose elements initially agreed with the idea that slavery should be expunged--without abandoning his long-standing, publicly stated wish that "all men everywhere could be free." It might mean temporarily reversing local military orders to free captured slaves or limiting the Emancipation Proclamation to the states in rebellion, or cutting backstairs deals over postmasterships to help guarantee congressional passage of the 13th Amendment.
But long before Putin's backstairs embrace of Donald Trump's candidacy, Syria had illustrated the limitations of a president who always tiptoed through the tulips.
"Plausible deniability" is built into backstairs accords, but Whitehall sources are adamant a deal was on offer, not on the fiscal framework or the status of shopworkers in Scotland, but the status of the SNP leadership.