Idioms With “Above” and Meanings

List of idioms with the word “Above” and the meanings. Idioms about “Above” and definitions.

head and shoulders above
at a much higher level
1. Lisa’s work is outstanding and no one’s comes close to being so good. Her work is head and shoulders above everyone else’s.
2. This performance of the play was head and shoulders above the previous performance. The actors really did an excellent job this time.
Compare to: run circles around (someone); not hold a candle to (something) The expression suggests that someone or something that is head and shoulders above someone or something else is substantially better. Whereas run circles around someone means to outperform someone (usually physically), head and shoulders above someone usually refers to a person’s or object’s character or inner qualities.

keep (one’s) head above water
to just barely manage to stay ahead, financially (sentence 1) or with one’s work or responsibilities (sentence 2)
1. Mrs. Robinson has three children to support and she doesn’t make very much money at her job. She is barely keeping her head above water.
2. Peter is having a difficult time at the university because he wasn’t very well prepared academically, but he is somehow managing to keep his head above water.
Antonym: in over (one’s) head
Compare to: make ends meet; get by
Keep one’s head above water and make ends meet mean having just enough money but no extra, although the former conveys a greater feeling of desperation. Keep one’s head above water can mean survival in a financial or other sense, whereas make ends meet always refers to a financial situation.

above (doing) something
[of someone]too mature or honorable to do something. I thought you were above doing something so thoughtless.

above someone or something
to be in a position that is higher than someone or something. The plane is now directly above us.

above someone
at a higher rank than someone else; serving as someone’s supervisor

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