over the top
Surpassing a goal or quota, as in The new salesmen are excellent; they were over the top within the first six months. [Mid-1900s]
Over the parapet of a military trench, as in The lieutenant sent fresh troops over the top. This usage dates from World War I.
Extreme, outrageous, as in This comedian's style goes over the top. [Slang; late 1900s]
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Words nearby over the top
BEHIND THE PHRASE
What does over the top mean?
The phrase over the top is most often used to describe something that is excessive or outrageous, as in The flashy supervillain planned crazy schemes that were over the top.
Less commonly, over the top can refer to surpassing a goal, as in The promising rookies were over the top, scoring more shots than anyone expected.
Over the top can also refer to soldiers going over a military trench or parapet, as in A new squad of reinforcements went over the top to help the front lines.
Example: The garish millionaire’s party was over the top with pop star performances, gold medals for everyone, and a huge fireworks display.
Where does over the top come from?
The first records of over the top as a figurative phrase come from around 1935. The first records of the military usage come from around 1915 and refer literally to going over the tops of trenches that were common during World War I.
Today, the phrase over the top almost always refers to things that are considered excessive or outrageous. You are likely to see this phrase used quite a lot on social media and the internet, where sharing outrageous or extraordinary content is important for getting attention. In particular, over the top is used to describe people or things that are especially funny, flashy, or bizarre.
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What are some synonyms for over the top?
What are some words that share a root or word element with over the top?
What are some words that often get used in discussing over the top?
What are some words over the top may be commonly confused with?
How is over the top used in real life?
Over the top is often used to describe people, things, or behavior that is unbelievable or excessive.
Test audiences for George Clooney's historical drama 'Good Night, and Good Luck' complained that the actor playing Senator McCarthy was too over the top. They did not realise that section of the film was real archive footage and they were watching the actual Senator McCarthy.
— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) November 1, 2018
I liked Star Wars but the product placement was over the top. The Samsung Galaxy Lightsaber? And I don't remember the Falcon being a BMW.
— Hank Green (@hankgreen) December 20, 2015
In its third season, Star Trek discovery finally feels like Star Trek. It’s not the same but it is Star Trek for sure, a little over the top, a little swanky but yes it is.
— Sahil Mohan Gupta (@DigitallyBones) November 8, 2020
Try using over the top!
Is over the top used correctly in the following sentence?
Tim’s wife told him to make a small lunch, but he went over the top and made a four-course meal.
How to use over the top in a sentence
France 24 is providing live, round-the-clock coverage of both scenes as they progress.
They are always suspended over a precipice, dangling by a slender thread that shows every sign of snapping.
And now, similarly, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee: "Bend over and take it like a prisoner!"Huckabee 2016: Bend Over and Take It Like a Prisoner!|Olivia Nuzzi|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Perhaps on his own nowadays, Epstein is trying his best to webmaster over a dozen URLs.Sleazy Billionaire’s Double Life Featured Beach Parties With Stephen Hawking|M.L. Nestel|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
But yes, I pictured a James Bond-type just sauntering over to her.‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS|Marlow Stern|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
It is most peculiar, and when he plays that way, the most bewitching little expression comes over his face.Music-Study in Germany|Amy Fay
All over the world the just claims of organized labor are intermingled with the underground conspiracy of social revolution.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice|Stephen Leacock
After we had passed over this desert, we found several garisons to defend the caravans from the violence of the Tartars.
After relievedly giving the pistol to the nearest soldier, he stumbled quickly over to Brion and took his hand.Sense of Obligation|Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)
Solely over one man therein thou hast quite absolute control.Pearls of Thought|Maturin M. Ballou