Over the Hump – Meaning and Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Over the hump means getting past the most challenging part of a task, situation, or week (hello, Wednesday!). You’re essentially on the easier downhill slide after climbing the proverbial mountain of difficulty. This hump of wisdom originates from Word War II and crossing the Himalayas.

Idioms, like this one, are phrases where the words together have a different meaning than their individual definitions. They are great for expressing the idea of putting all the hard work behind you, but there’s more to it than that. So, stick with me as I go over the true meaning of this idiom while dissecting its origins before working it into some sentence examples for you.

Over the Hump Meaning Explained

Over the Hump – Meaning and Origin

To be over the hump shows that you’ve successfully traversed the toughest part of an undertaking and are now headed toward an easier, smoother course. It’s the verbal high-five you give yourself when you finish the half-marathon’s steepest climb and see the finish line down the road.

It’s the middle part, the peak, the climax. That’s where the similar phrase hump day came from, which refers to the middle day of the week, Wednesday.

Over the Hump Origin and Etymology

Over the Hump Ngram
Over the hump usage trend.

This idiom emerged during the Second World War when Allied pilots would fly “The Hump” route over the eastern end of the Himalayan mountains to transport supplies to and from India and China. This was because the primary ground route, the Burma Road, was occupied by the Japanese. When pilots surpassed the highest point of this treacherous air route, where the weather conditions were most challenging, they were said to be “over the hump,” signaling that the most difficult part of their journey was behind them and the path ahead was comparatively easier.

Synonyms for Over the Hump

Like to mix and match your vocabulary? Check out these alternatives for over the hump.

  • Past the worst
  • Over the worst
  • Turned the corner
  • Past the peak
  • Over the hill (though be cautious; this can imply old age!)

Using ‘Over the Hump’ in Sentence Examples

Over the Hump – Meaning and Origin 1

Now, let’s see this idiom in action with these ten sentences showing how to use it.

  • Finally, finishing the calculations for the last math exam felt like getting over the hump.
  • Once we’re over the hump of budget approvals, the project will move much more smoothly.
  • I think we’re over the hump with the home renovations—only painting left!
  • By Wednesday, I usually feel over the hump and closer to the weekend when I can relax and read.
  • My grandmother was so relieved to be over the hump in her chemotherapy treatments.
  • The new bakery is finally over the hump of its financial difficulties after the tourist season.
  • Once you’re over the hump of the first few weeks, diet and exercise become way easier.
  • With that big sale secured with a publisher, I’m finally over the hump in my writing career.
  • We’re over the hump with planning the event; now it’s just the execution that’s left.
  • “You’re over the hump when you realize that setbacks are setups for comebacks,” he said.

Get Over the Hump!

You’re over the hump of understanding what this idiom means now that you know its origins and how to deftly toss it into a conversation. Hungry for more? We’ve got an endless supply of idiomatic expressions for you!