Also found in: Thesaurus.


 (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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.backstair - secret and sly or sordidbackstair - 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.
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."