Is there another way to express "raise the bar"? The context I'm looking for would fit this sentence:

A firewall raises the bar for would-be attackers.

  • Raises the drawbridge?
    – mgb
    Dec 5, 2013 at 17:58

3 Answers 3


I would suggest "ups the ante". That is, it will cost hackers more (effort) to get into the game.

  • This is what I was looking for and conforms with the connotation I was using!
    – zje
    Feb 23, 2015 at 5:17

"raise the bar" carries a connotation of making something better; raise standards or expectations, especially by creating something to a higher standard.

Acme's new technology will raise the bar for the entire industry. It also connotes a challenge to overcome, as in raising the bar in high jumping.

I think you want to connote something that attackers would see as a hinderance or deterrance.

deters, hinders, impedes, discourages, dissuades, discourages, inhibits (all can be used with 'further' to strengthen them.)

  • 3
    It's a phrase that can be read in more than one way. In UK parlance it is also used to mean something has become more difficult. Dec 5, 2013 at 21:31
  • That's an interesting distinction. I've always thought the origin of the idiom is the high jump, centered on the act of overtopping the current bar causes other contestants to need to jump higher. The connotation (in American English usage I've seen, anyways) is always positive, focusing on the achievement of the new frontrunner; I would go so far to say a usage of this idiom without casting someone in a positive light - and instead focusing on 'it is harder now' - is a malapropism.
    – Patrick M
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:43
  • (And of course, if English speaking cultures had taken up the Limbo before the high jump, the idiom would be "Lowering the Bar.")
    – Patrick M
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:45

If you are trying to avoid an idiom, a simple "makes things harder" would be clear. For a single word I would suggest ". . . impedes would be . . . ".

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