Over the Top (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Over the Top"?

The term over the top is used when something is done in excessive amounts or beyond reasonable limits. It is sometimes (in the UK at least) shortened to O.T.T. The term was first coined during the Great War when the troops became engaged in trench warfare. When the troops were sent over the trench wall, the order given would usually be over the top lads and best of luck. The over the top tactic gained little or no land, but it saw thousands of men slaughtered as they crossed no-man's land.
Over the Top (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • These flowers are lovely, but they're a little over the top.
  • It's only her first birthday. I think hiring a bunch of clowns is a bit over the top.
  • Jack's speech was over the top. No one will believe him. He promised everything.

Previous and Next Sayings

Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms

Ready for the Test?

More Proverbs, Sayings, and Idioms

Help Us Improve Grammar Monster

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?

Find Us Quicker!

  • When using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing), you will find Grammar Monster quicker if you add #gm to your search term.