erect vs upright what difference

what is difference between erect and upright



  • IPA(key): /ɪˈɹɛkt/
  • Rhymes: -ɛkt
  • Hyphenation: erect

Etymology 1

From Middle English erect, a borrowing from Latin ērectus (upright), past participle of ērigō (raise, set up), from ē- (out) + regō (to direct, keep straight, guide).


erect (comparative more erect, superlative most erect)

  1. Upright; vertical or reaching broadly upwards.
    • 1789, Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, volume 6, chapter 64.
      Among the Greek colonies and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect — a column in a scene of ruins.
  2. (of body parts) Rigid, firm; standing out perpendicularly, especially as the result of stimulation.
    Synonyms: hard, stiff
  3. (of a man) Having an erect penis
    Synonyms: hard, stiff
  4. (obsolete) Bold; confident; free from depression; undismayed.
    • 1827, John Keble, The Christian Year
      But who is he, by years / Bowed, but erect in heart?
  5. (obsolete) Directed upward; raised; uplifted.
  6. Watchful; alert.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie
      vigilant and erect attention of mind
  7. (heraldry) Elevated, as the tips of wings, heads of serpents, etc.
  • (rigid; standing out perpendicularly): flaccid
Derived terms
  • erectable
  • semierect
Related terms
  • erectile
  • erection
  • erigible

Etymology 2

From Middle English erecten, from the adjective (see above).


erect (third-person singular simple present erects, present participle erecting, simple past and past participle erected)

  1. (transitive) To put up by the fitting together of materials or parts.
  2. (transitive) To cause to stand up or out.
  3. To raise and place in an upright or perpendicular position; to set upright; to raise.
    1. (aviation, of a gyroscopic attitude indicator) To spin up and align to vertical.
  4. To lift up; to elevate; to exalt; to magnify.
    • that didst his state above his hopes erect
    • , Preface
      I, who am a party, am not to erect myself into a judge.
  5. To animate; to encourage; to cheer.
    • a. 1677, Isaac Barrow, Of Contentment (sermon)
      It raiseth the dropping spirit, erecting it to a loving complaisance.
  6. (astrology) To cast or draw up (a figure of the heavens, horoscope etc.).
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 332:
      In 1581 Parliament made it a statutory felony to erect figures, cast nativities, or calculate by prophecy how long the Queen would live or who would succeed her.
  7. To set up as an assertion or consequence from premises, etc.
    • from fallacious foundations, and misapprehended mediums, erecting conclusions no way inferrible from their premises
    • Malebranche erects this proposition.
  8. To set up or establish; to found; to form; to institute.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie
      to erect a new commonwealth
    • 1812, Arthur Collins & Sir Egerton Brydges, Peerage of England, F.C. and J. Rivington et al, page 330:
      In 1686, he was appointed one of the Commissioners in the new ecclesiastical commission erected by King James, and was proud of that honour.
  • build
Derived terms
  • erecting shop
  • re-erect, reerect


  • -crete, Crete, recte, terce



From Middle English upright, uppryght, upriht, from Old English upriht (upright; erect), from Proto-Germanic *upprehtaz, equivalent to up- +‎ right. Cognate with Saterland Frisian apgjucht (upright), West Frisian oprjocht (upright), Dutch oprecht (upright), German Low German uprecht (upright), German aufrecht (upright), Swedish upprätt (upright), Icelandic upprétt (upright).


  • IPA(key): /ˈʌpɹaɪt/


upright (comparative more upright, superlative most upright)

  1. Vertical; erect.
    I was standing upright, waiting for my orders.
    • 1608, William Shakespeare, The merry Deuill of Edmonton, introduction, lines 1–4
      Fab[ell]: What meanes the tolling of this fatall chime, // O what a trembling horror ſtrikes my hart! // My ſtiffned haire ſtands vpright on my head, // As doe the briſtles of a porcupine.
    • 1782, Fanny Burney, Cecilia; or, Memoirs of an Heiress, volume V, Book X, chapter X: “A Termination”, page 372
      Supported by pillows, ſhe ſat almoſt upright.
  2. Greater in height than breadth.
  3. (figuratively) Of good morals; practicing ethical values.
    • 1611, King James Version, Job 1:1:
      There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
  4. (of a golf club) Having the head approximately at a right angle with the shaft.


  • (vertical, erect): surrect (obsolete, rare)

Derived terms

  • upright bass, upright bassist



upright (comparative more upright, superlative most upright)

  1. in or into an upright position



upright (plural uprights)

  1. Any vertical part of a structure, especially one of the goal posts in sports.
  2. A word clued by the successive initial, middle, or final letters of the cross-lights in a double acrostic or triple acrostic.
  3. (informal) An upright piano.
  4. (informal) An upright arcade game cabinet.
    • 2013, Jon Peddie, The History of Visual Magic in Computers (page 181)
      The video arcade machines are typically in stand up arcade cabinets, although some have been built as tables. The uprights have a monitor and controls in front and players insert coins or tokens into the machines to play the game.
  5. Short for upright vacuum cleaner.


  • (word clued by successive letters): double acrostic, triple acrostic

Related terms

  • upright piano



upright (third-person singular simple present uprights, present participle uprighting, simple past and past participle uprighted)

  1. (transitive) To set upright or stand back up (something that has fallen).

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