Discussion in 'English Only' started by Antonio, May 1, 2005.
What does the phrase "Raise the bar" mean?
Antonio: Please use the search tool before posting your question. this has been dicussed before
The link didn't copy well before. Here it is again:
I think the concept for this link is too vague; The first thing that comes to my mind, when someone say to someone "raise the bar" is on TV.
"Raising the bar" is another way to saying "Increasing the rating", right?
Another meanings, could be the following ones, but I'm not sure.
- Exceeding expectations
- Increase expectations (increase acceptance, maybe)
- Something that is done very well
Please correct my mistakes, and tell me, if I'm right or wrong or if is another meaning that we're missing so far. Please let me know.
To raise the bar=to set a higher standard.
Isp or whoever wants to answer what Isp said. Can someone please give me some examples to fully understand the phrase "raise the bar"?
you have a bar (FIGURATIVELY!). it represents a standard, something to get over (at this point you may well imagine the high jump contest), achieve. this standard remains unchanged a period long time. then one day someone *raises the bar*. all of a sudden more is expected to meet the standard. this extra could be absolutely anything. thats the beauty of the concept. use your imagination.
before anyone could go to university! now they have raised the bar! you need to be intelligent!
before anyone post in the english forum! they raised the bar! now you need to pass an speeling!! test!
before only a select few people could be mods! then they let me be one! they significantly lowered the bar!
ok Benjy, I'm gonna use my imagination a little bit. I guess it can probably mean top quality, excellent student, sucessful businessman, the number one TV program or talk show. For example Shrek raised the bar in animation or Google with Gmail. I think it simply means anything that exceeds any expactation, right?
If I'm right or wrong, please let me know.
Not expectation. The bar simply refers to the standard. You were entirely correct with your Shrek example though.
Please explain to me in plain words what does "raise the bar" means with examples, if you don't mind, just the understand the whole context. Because I don't have a clue, to be honest with you.
No problem. It means to raise the standard/degree of requirement. The standard refers to the level that something is done at.
Example: Eminem raised the bar of rap music. i.e. He took it to another level (i.e. one that had never been reached before). He made it better than it ever was before.
That is what it means in its simplest terms.
Unfortunately, it can have other meanings, such as raising the minimum level of requirement - Benjy's example is an example of this.
P.S. In my last post I may have been a little hasty. It can refer to expectation, but such is only implied by the idiom.
Thanks Axl, but in what cases, can be considered as "lowered the bar"?
the lowered the bar thing that i threw in was just a joke. it's not really said. you would more likely hear someone talking about falling standards than a lowering of the bar,
Thanks Benjy, and sorry for insist on the same subject, but I'm still confused about the concept of "raising the bar" I looked up the meaning in this slang dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=raise+the+bar&r=f Please tell me if the meanings listed in there are right or wrong.
well. i have never heard of raise the bar in the first sense listed, but i'm not going to say that noone ever says it. i think context would make that painfully clear.
as for something being so good it raises the bar see axl's post about emimen's rap above
ps i added some caution flags.. urbandictionary is not safe for work
I think I'm getting a slightly idea of the concept "raise the bar" means to break all the normal rules or standards in the industry, economic, music field in order to obtain a higher standard never seen before, right?
An example that came up to my mind is Google as a search engine and Gmail with 2 Gigs for free. By the way, what do you mean, by saying that urbandictionary is not safe for work?
ok. imagine you are at work. you click on a link and it has questioanble content on it. others see. its not cool. not safe for work is just internet speak for uhm more mature content. like your dictionary entry for example.
also: raising the bar has two meanings. the one you and axl have been discussing, and the other that i posted
Those definitions from Urbandictionary are not useful (I have never heard either of them), do not pay attention to them.
Benjy's previous example of the high jump is a good way to visualize this term (in fact, the term may have originated from track and field sports, but I am not sure).
In both the high jump and the pole vault, the object is for the athlete to jump/vault over the bar - the higher, the better. A few pictures since I don't know the Spanish equivalent of these events:
Now, if one person decides to attempt a higher jump than before, they must literally "raise the bar" before doing so. Then, if they get over the bar successfully, the height of the jump that they have just completed will be the new standard.
This is because if the other competitors want to win, they also have to match the height of the jump that was successfully done after the bar was raised; the highest jump wins, and lowering it at this point will accomplish nothing.
Now, taking this concept and applying to other examples:
In your Shrek example, saying that Shred "raised the bar" of animation, this means that the animation used in Shrek was so good that perhaps audiences want more top-quality animation in future movies. If a new animated movie were to come out with worse animation, people would compare it to Shrek and, seeing that it was inferior, be less satisfied. After Shrek's success, people have higher expectations for the quality of animation in a film. The "bar" has been raised.
I hope that this clears things up. Raising the bar is a metaphor that means "raising the standard/setting a higher standard". In order to do so one must usually excel at something, so even though there is a correlation between raising the bar and exceeding expectations, the actual phrase refers to the standard.
"Lower the bar" can be used in the opposite sense, although it is less common. But if you want an example, one could say that so-called reality TV shows have lowered the bar for entertainment. This means that they have set a lower standard (in one's opinion) for quality entertainment on television, so that others have followed this lead and the overall quality of television has gone down.
Edit: you were pretty much correct on your last post, Antonio, which I saw after I entered mine.
Axl, give me an excellent example of what "raising the bar" means, but I'm asking you a question, and with all due respect, you're not giving me a straight answer to my last question. As you can see, I'm not a native, but I'm here to learn like everybody does in this forum, besides that what's all about, right?
By the way, when searching for good examples I came across this resource for English idioms, which you might find helpful in the future:
hrm. i guess its time for me to stop trying to help you if my help is frustrating you. i refer you back to my first post on the matter. that was as clear as i could make it. ifthat doesnt help you then i'm sorry. i tried. i don't know what you mean by not giving a straight answer. i am being as explicit as i can.
Thanks duder, now I got the picture "raise the bar" means to set a higher standard in every field or industry, is the same thing as "pushing the envelope", right?
Yes, I would say that the two are very similar.
Thanks duder, for helping me out. Now I got the picture so far
Just a quick and final question, to not kept the doubt, "Raising the bar" is another way to saying "Increasing the rating" I mean in the TV show context or not?
Yes you could use it for TV context...but it does not replace the saying 'Increasing the rating'..
'The TV show Survivor is 'raising the bar' this year, they are making the challenges harder'...(to increase the ratings)
Just think of it as..you 'raise the bar'...to get something..
No child left behind. (Because standards have been LOWERED…)
I didn't read them all, but I can tell you the source for "raise the bar". It comes from track and field. Specifically, it applies to pole vaulting and high jumping. After all the contestants finish at a certain height, they "raise the bar" for the contestants still in the competition. The phrase is used outside track and field to describe someone who has excelled in a certain area and taken competition in that area to a new level, hence "raising the bar" for everyone else in that field.
"Raising the bar" comes from the Olympic high jump event. Each jumper gets a chance to jump higher than the next or just to jump to some lower height.
If the previous jumper cleared 16 feet, nine inches, then you might say, "let's raise the bar to 16 feet 10 inches." You thus "raise the bar" and you've set a new standard that the other jumpers have to meet in order to keep up.
From that, we get the metaphor.
Antonio and every one here please, do not get sangry with this poor new student of the English language, I cannot help to say this:
I've just read today this statement from Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, about Steve Jobs:
"Once in a rare while somebody comes along who doesn't just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement"
I hope it helps, as Steve has done to all of us
have fun, live the present!!!
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