kick into overdrive

Discussion in 'English Only' started by thuhoai, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. thuhoai Senior Member


    I came across the following sentences from Latimes

    I cannot get the meaning of "kick into overdrive".
    Could anyone explain it?
  2. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    something like -- this anticipation reached the point of a heightened intensity.
  3. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    It's not a particularly good use of the overdrive metaphor.

    Normally, the metaphor means "speed up."
  4. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    Overdrive..... It has its dictionary meaning but I have seen it used like this to mean frenzy, which is rather ironic considering its real meaning in car driving terms. People also say shift up a gear to suggest more effort, movement on something not mechanical.
  5. maxillarypun

    maxillarypun New Member

    Michigan, United States
    American English
    Considering that Apple is a technology company, it might have the connotation of "increasing power", meaning that the anticipation has increased in power to a great extent. In computer processor terms, "overdrive" means "increasing power above normal limits".
  6. thuhoai Senior Member

    Many thanks for your help,VikNikSor, sdgraham, suzibr and maxillarypun.
  7. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Example: Asheville is surrounded by hollows (hollers), coves, gaps, and valleys, filled with generations of hard working North Carolinians that, while free thinking and independent, aren’t known for their outside the boxedness. Conservative through and through, most are used to making it on their own in the best of times. Come the apocalypse? That conservative pragmatism kicks into overdrive and sure comes in handy.

    Source: Z-Burbia: A Zombie Novel by Bible, Jake

    Background: The story is set in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world where pockets of survivor communities across the United States do their best to fend off hordes of zombies and wandering bums.

    Hi native speakers,
    Is the difference between "shifts up a gear" and "kicks into overdrive" simply a matter of degree? Given that overdrive is an extra gear I assume "kicks into overdrive" suggests a greater degree of power-up than "shifts up a gear". What do you make of it?
  8. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    My take is essentially the same as yours, except I'd include an awareness that, once the figurative overdrive has kicked in, there can't be any further increase in performance. (I notice that when speaking literally about overdrive, this may not be true.)

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