On the radar, off the radar, under the radar, below the radar, and above the radar

  • On the radar, off the radar, under the radar, below the radar, and above the radar are related idioms. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idioms on the radar, off the radar, under the radar, below the radar, and above the radar, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.


    On the radar, off the radar, under the radar, below the radar, and above the radar are all idioms that refer to the degree of something’s importance, whether it is perceived, or how much attention it is receiving. On the radar and above the radar refer to things that have been noticed and are receiving attention. Off the radar refers to something unimportant or unnoticed. Under the radar and below the radar usually describe something that has failed to draw attention, often intentionally. For instance, many companies attempt to influence politicians out of the public eye; they work under the radar or below the radar. The word, radar, was coined in 1941 from the phrase radio detection and ranging. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to determine an object’s size, distance, and speed. The phrases on the radar, off the radar, under the radar, below the radar, and above the radar were all originally used in a literal sense; however, by the 1950s, these terms took on figurative meanings.



    After his loss in the 2021 presidential race, Rezaei wasn’t on the radar for an economic position in a Raisi administration. (Iran International)

    “Hayden is seen as a bedroom community that is a little more off-the-radar,” Hayden Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Andrea Fulks said. (Coeur d’Alene Press)

    Let’s take a look now at three free agents that flew under the radar this offseason that the franchise could add. (Sports Illustrated)

    Check out these 30 highly anticipated books for fall, plus five new nonfiction books and five mysteries flying below the radar. (Los Angeles Times)

    One particular London-based aviation startup that has started to fly above the radar has attracted investment from some of Europe’s heavyweight players. (Luxury Travel Magazine)

    About Grammarist
    Contact | Privacy policy | Home
    © Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist