over the top



  • adverb over the heads of the close or midfield fielders and out into the deep or over the boundary (as when a batsman hits a ‘lofted’ drive)
    Citation ‘I decided to hit Botham over the top, seeing no mid-on or a man deeper, but only one in the country between long-on and deep mid-wicket’ (Sunil Gavaskar, WCM February 1984)


  • adjective 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 measurable or acceptable limits, reinforced perhaps by the use of the phrase in World War I to describe troops climbing out of the trenches to go into battle, hence throwing caution to the winds. Often abbreviated to O.T.T., the phrase was a vogue term in 1979.