Over the hill

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Over the hill is an idiom that has been in use at least since the 1900s. We will examine the meaning of the phrase over the hill, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Over the hill is a phrase that describes someone old, someone worn out, someone who is past his prime. The idea is to think of one’s life as a hill. At the top of the hill, one is in his full prime and at the height of his attractiveness, power and ability. As life progresses, one descends the hill into old age. Once one is over the hill, he is past his prime. Calling someone over the hill is considered an insult. Surprisingly, the oldest known use of the idiom is 1950. Over the hill is rendered without a hyphen, unless it is used as an adjective before a noun as in over-the-hill.


It’s a sad and quiet character study (written, remember, by Sylvester Stallone, an unknown at the time) about two lonely people both fearing that their best days are behind them (and weren’t so great in the first place), that they are getting over the hill without having really lived. (The National Review)

Nothing Arthur Moats has shown on the practice field this Steelers training camp would suggest he’s over the hill. (The Tribune Review)

They don’t give Oscars for juveniles anymore because the juveniles are now grownups, covered with tattoos by the time they’re over the hill at the age of twelve. (The Observer)

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