Origin of the term "Upstate"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed May 18 01:36:02 UTC 2011

At 5/17/2011 04:18 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>OED doen't realize that "upstate" New York is "up" because it is north of
>NYC - or north of whatever part of the state the speaker is in.

Doesn't the OED's "that part of a state which is (regarded as) higher
than another" mean "the north part, higher on the map" for New York?  :-)

>"Downstate" is comparably south,  though without beingoriented to any
>specific location. "Downstate New York" is a rather odd-sounding phrase to
>me, but "upstate New York" could refer in theory to any place north of New
>York City, though I'd say it's usually restricted to the Hudson Valley and
>immediate environs, western New York being referred unimaginatively to as
>"Western New York State."

"Downstate Illinois" is probably more iconic, as a contrast to
Chicago and Cook County.  Since the time of Abe?


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