Origin of the term "Upstate"

Lynne Murphy m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK
Thu May 19 12:02:34 UTC 2011

We've had this conversation before...but, I will note that JL's definition
of 'upstate' is a peculiarly downstate understanding of it. Rochesterians
consider themselves 'upstate'. The label 'Western NY', for us, is to
distinguish among parts of upstate. When the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
had its own magazine (rather than Parade & such drivel) it was called


--On 18 May 2011 01:44 +0100 "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU> wrote:

> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
> Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM] Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
> 4:18 PM
> Subject: Re: Origin of the term "Upstate"
> 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.
> "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."
> JL

Dr M Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics
Director of English Language and Linguistics
School of English
Arts B348
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN

phone: +44-(0)1273-678844

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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