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It was over the top

Posted by Ted Lucas on October 17, 2000

In Reply to: It was over the top posted by ESC on October 13, 2000

: : I am 9 years old and given lots of homework. I need to find out the meaning and origin of It was over the top. Please help. Thank you.

: : Daniel D.

: "OVER THE TOP is widely used today, especially by fund-raisers who are forever beseeching contributors to add a bit more to put the campaign 'over the top.' By now there are few among this group who know or care that this phrase had its origin in the trench warfare of World War I, when the command 'Over the top!' meant that the infantryman scrambled out of the trenches into no man's land. There was a famous novel of that war by Guy Empey, titled 'Over the Top.'" From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

I have an English friend who said, "You Americans are so over the top." What did she mean by that?