T-learning # Idiom
Speak Like a Native

over the top

Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) loud and noisy

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b) extreme and exaggerated

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Over the top describes something that is outrageous, too extreme and/or unsuitable.

In conversation or in writing, OTT often stands for “over-the-top".

It is said to come from the First World War. British soldiers would use the expression to describe leaving the safety of their trenches and going onto the battlefield.

French translation

c’est too much, excessif, tape à l’oeil

How NOT to translate : *au-dessus du sommet


Examples in context

’Forget crisps and a can of Coke : The world’s most over-the-top hotel mini-bars offer everything from oxygen canisters to aged Japanese whisky

Today, hotel mini-bars offer so much more than a bag of nuts and a chocolate bar.
From farmer’s market produce stocked in a Fresh Fridge, delivered to your room upon check-in, or your own in-room ice cream freezer, the world’s most luxurious hotels sure have upped their minibar game.’

The Daily Mail, 7 July 2015


‘Intimate Escapes, for a Few Hours, in Brazil’s Love Motels

The motel industry in São Paulo caters to a broad array of personal interests. The Motel Classe A, for instance, offers a suite decorated for fans of the Corinthians soccer club, and another for devotees of the book “50 Shades of Grey.” Suites at Snob’s Motel seem to aspire to cosmopolitanism, with names after cities like Dubai, Moscow and, yes, Las Vegas. A suite at the Motel Riviera is designed to appear as if the client were lounging near a yacht anchored in the Mediterranean.

But such flourishes seem old-school, or merely unambitious, compared with the over-the-top approach at places like the Harmony Motel.

Its Nagoya suite has a bar with draft beer, a barbecue to grill cuts of sirloin, a pole-dancing stage, a lounge for playing Xbox, pinball machines, a sunroof, a pool table, an aquarium stocked with huge freshwater fish like the pirarucu and the dog-eating catfish, and a king-size bed decorated with rose petals.’

The New York Times, 23 September 2015


Everyday usage

I went to that play last night. The acting was so over-the-top, it really ruined it for me.

When I saw him, he was behaving really strangely. He was very expressive and loud, very over-the-top.

In the song, she screams all the way through, and it’s just OTT.

c) busy and crowded

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