Going over the top

Going over the top

"Going over the top" is a military phrase derived from the trench warfare of the First World War (generally, trench warfare was used on the Western Front). Attacks starting from trenches required infantry to climb over the top of the parapet before they could cross no man's land to attack the enemy trenches. 'Going over the top' was an unpopular task; soldiers awaited three blows on a whistle to proceed. One soldier commented 'it felt like such a long time waiting to go over the top that many of us expected the war to be over by the time we had climbed on to 'no man's land'.Fact|date=February 2007|date=March 2007

The phrase may be applied to describe leaving a safe condition for an unsafe one (compare to "out of the frying pan, into the fire").

The phrase describes the arm-wrestling move practiced by the character Lincoln Hawk in the 1987 film "Over the Top", wherein a few adjustments in finger placement provide leverage to overtake an opponent.

The phrase "over the top" (OTT), has come to refer to excess, particularly outrageous behaviour or hyperbole.


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  • Over the top — may refer to: Going over the top , a military phrase derived from the trench warfare of the First World War Music Over the Top (Cozy Powell album) Over the Top (Infinite album) Over the Top (The Mentors album) Over the Top (White Wizzard album)… …   Wikipedia

  • over the top — adj, adv British outrageous, bizarre, beyond the bounds of normal behaviour or decorum. The expression equally describes fury, extraordinary generosity or simple bad taste. It derives from the general idea of going off the scale , of being beyond …   Contemporary slang

  • over the top —    1. obsolete    attacking an enemy from a trench    First World War usage. The top was the parapet of the trench over which the attackers climbed: and to go over the top was to risk being killed or maimed:     Darling, you can t really imagine… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • over the top — the lavish dessert buffet after that meal was simply over the top Syn: excessive, immoderate, inordinate, extreme, exaggerated, extravagant, overblown, too much, unreasonable, hyperbolic, disproportionate, undue, unwarranted, uncalled for,… …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • over-the-top — adjective far more than usual or expected an extraordinary desire for approval it was an over the top experience • Syn: ↑extraordinary, ↑sinful • Similar to: ↑immoderate • Derivationally related form …   Useful english dictionary

  • over the top — (informal) EXCESSIVE, immoderate, inordinate, extreme, exaggerated, extravagant, overblown, too much, unreasonable, disproportionate, undue, unwarranted, uncalled for, unnecessary, going too far; informal a bit much, OTT. → top * * * [ˌōvər T͟Hə… …   Useful english dictionary

  • over-the-top — /oʊvə ðə ˈtɒp / (say ohvuh dhuh top) adjective Colloquial extreme or excessive; beyond normal restraints or limits: her over the top ideas lost her the job. Also, (especially in predicative use), over the top. {originally from trench warfare in… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • the top of the range — UK US noun [S] UK (US the top of the line) ► COMMERCE the most expensive products in a group of similar products: »He thought about going to the top of the range, but decided that was too much money. » At the top of the range you will find hand… …   Financial and business terms

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