What does "above and beyond" mean and how is it used in a sentence? Some sources say it means exceeding expectations, some sources say it means 'in addition to'. Which is it? Is it both?

2 Answers 2


beyond, preposition

The basic idea is on the other side of something. Typical use: Beyond the river there is a large forest.

When referring to time (beyond a certain date) it simply means after.

There are other figurative uses such as beyond hope, beyond imagination, beyond telling, beyond his understanding.

For further information see OALD.

above, preposition

"above" refers to the height of something. The basic meaning is at a higher position than something else. Typical example:

We were flying high above the clouds. (Prepositions that are very close are over and across.)

above is used with reference to temperature scales: Temperatures have been above average.

And it is used with reference to level. On manuscript paper (for the notation of music) higher notes are written above deeper notes.

Figurative use, e.g. in the idiom: That's above my head.

For further information see OALD.

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    If I'm not mistaken, I think you're missing a conclusion. Don (I didn't downvote you, by the way.) Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 22:52
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    To my American ears, "Above and Beyond" is not the sum of the individual definitions. It is an idiom that means exceeding expectations. I would find it puzzling if it were used to mean 'in addition'.
    – KnotWright
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 17:15

The phrase, "above and beyond", can be used in both senses. A single word alternative for the second sense (additionally) is, "moreover": (adverb) 1. in addition to what has been said; further; and besides: (adverb) 1. moreover; furthermore; also: "Besides, I promised her we would come." 2. in addition: "There are three elm trees and two maples besides." 3. otherwise; else: "They had a roof over their heads but not much besides." moreover (adverb). From Dictionary.com

Etymology: late 14c., in phrase and yit more ouer "there is more to say;" from more (adv.) + over (adv.). Written as one word from late 14c. From Etymonline.com.

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    No. 'Above and beyond' cannot stand alone as a 'sentence adverbial'; it is not a synonym of 'moreover'. Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 11:34

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