raise the bar

raise the bar

Meaning

  • to be better than what went before
  • to raise standards or expectations
  • to set higher rules/goals
  • to make something harder

Example Sentences

  1. Our family is so competitive. Now that my cousin has gone to university, everyone will expect me and my brother to raise the bar too.
  2. Apple iPhone is really raising the bar with the latest model. It’s amazing.
  3. Caroline brought the most boring man around for dinner last night. She really is going to have to raise the bar if she wants to impress her parents with her choice of men.
  4. The under 18s teams are raising the bar this season. They are unstoppable.
  5. It’s such a struggle to get anywhere at work. Just imagine you have achieved something, and the boss raises the bar again.
  6. In order to ‘raise the bar‘ on style, I’ve sourced out some new accessories.
  7. The company promises to raise the bar for safety and comfort in its upcoming car model.

Origin

This phrase originates in athletic terminology around the turn of the century. It is from the area of pole vault and high jump, where it is necessary to raise the bar after each jump to reach a new height record and increase the competition. In the workplace, bosses are continually setting new targets or goals for the workers to achieve, hence raising the bar there too.

See also lower the bar (antonym)

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come hell or high water

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