head and shoulders above


head and shoulders above (the rest/the competition, etc.)


  • significantly better than everybody else in the field
  • on a level above the others
  • way out ahead of the race
  • superior to the competition in some important way
  • having an advantage over the other competitors/participants
  • the best, the winner, the most popular, successful, productive, etc.

Example Sentences

  1. I’m so proud of our boy, Johnny – he was head and shoulders above the rest of his class in his school project.
  2. If you train harder and longer than everybody else, you’ll be head and shoulders above the competition by the time the race comes around.
  3. In the race for the presidency, the democratic candidate was head and shoulders above the republican candidate.
  4. There’s no competition; our team is simply head and shoulders above the rest.
  5. You are head and shoulders above the other applicants. You will definitely get the job.
  6. This is the best laptop to buy. For your needs it is head and shoulders above all the others in your price range.
  7. If you want to be head and shoulders above the rest, you must work very hard.


The first recorded use of this phrase is in the mid 17th century, although it may have been in common usage before this date.

Share your opinions1 Opinion

I think this originates from Scripture. Specifically, the description of Saul in 1 Samuel 9:2, “From his shoulders upward…” Saul was “head and shoulders above everyone. People in earlier times were much more familiar with Scripture and Incorporated it moreoften in everyday speech, as many of our present idioms illustrate. Just my thought, of course …

‒ Peggi Shapiro November 7, 2018

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