Over the hump

Posted by ESC on November 02, 2005

In Reply to: Over the hump posted by Leanne on November 02, 2005

: I am trying to find out what the phrase "over the hump" means. The sentence it appears in is "He knows he's gone over the hump here, and he's in trouble now; he's in real trouble." Any idea?

"Over the hump" in the U.S. means, the worst is over. Gone downhill means things are getting progressively worse.

From the archives:

HUMP DAY -- Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 2, H-O by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994, has several slang uses of the word "hump" in print going back to the 1800s. "Over the hump," meaning beyond the midpoint or most difficult part was in print in 1914: "...Jackson & Hellyer, 'Vocab. 46: Hump...the half-way point in a prison sentence."

"Hump Day" -- ".the day that is at the midpoint in a given period of work; (often) Wednesday, the middle of the work week. Similarly, Hump Night. 1955 AS (American Speech) x 226: Hump Night.Wednesday night, which is over the hump of the week. (1977 Langone 'Life at Bottom,' 202: Some of the parties in midwinter, that's when you're over the hump. Hump Night, they called it, halfway home.') .ca 1965 in DARE (Dictionary of American Regional English): Hump day was used by counselors at summer camp to mean Wednesday."