What Does Above and Beyond Mean?

Above and Beyond Meaning

Definition: To do more and better than what is required.

Origin of Above and Beyond

This expression is part of the longer expression above and beyond the call of duty. Originally, this expression described soldiers who gave their lives while serving in the military. This is because they did the most anyone could possibly do for their jobs. This expression has been used since approximately the year 1916.

Since then, people began to use it for police officers and firefighters who gave or risked their lives. Over time, the expression above and beyond began to describe anyone who did more than they had to for their job or for a task.

Examples of Above and Beyond

far and beyond meaningIn this example, a college student is showing his friend his final project for his Environmental Studies class.

Frank: Hey, Karl! Check out my final report for this class.

Karl: Wow! How many pages is this?

Frank: I’m glad you asked! It’s actually 44 pages long.

Karl: I thought the requirement was only 5 pages.

Frank: It was! But I got really into the project and learned a lot, so I figured I’d write everything I learned. The professor didn’t list a maximum length.

Karl: I’m impressed! You really went above and beyond for this project!

Frank: I think so too. I hope that means I get a good grade in the course.

meaning of above and beyondIn this example, two friends are opening their store for the very first time.

Lily: Are you ready? I’m about to unlock the door for our first day of business!

Grace: I’m ready! I hope my marketing efforts worked and we get a decent sized crowd.

Lily: I hope my final additions to the interior decorations look okay. Let’s go in.

Grace: Oh my goodness! It looks beautiful in here. It must have taken you forever. You really did an amazing job.

Lily: Thanks. And look! Here comes a huge crowd of people.

Grace: You’re right. It looks like at least 20 people are heading straight for our store.

Lily: I can’t believe that many people are coming just moments after we opened! I expected maybe 15 people throughout the whole day. Nice job marketing the store. You really went above and beyond.

More Examples

In the excerpt below, two people did more than what was required to help a gorilla.

  • Galante and Turner “kind of went above and beyond to see that she had a high degree of animal welfare and was able to have an extended life,” said Craig Demitros, Brookfield Zoo’s associate curator of primates.–Chicago Sun Times

This excerpt is from an advice column. A mother tried very hard to help her daughter be involved at school but doesn’t know what to do outside of school.

  • In the past, we have gone above and beyond to keep her daughter included in the club activities, but when it comes to my daughter wanting to hang out with her friends outside of that, I feel she should be able to invite whoever she wants. –Chicago Sun Times

Summary

The phrase to go above and beyond means to do an excellent job on something—even beyond what is expected.

This expression adds emphasis. It has the connotation that the person completed everything that was required and then did even more work on top of it.

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