She's letting things get on top of her at work.

The above sentence makes me confuse when I study the phrase 'get on top of sb'. First af all, I totally understand "things get on top of her at work" means "She cannot deal with some works so that she feels frustrated."

But I don't get the exact context with "letting". So my quetsion is if the word 'she's letting' is placed in the beginning, does it mean that she is intentionally ruining work herself and that situation leads to her feeling of frustration?

I know the basic definition of 'let' (like I'll let you go), but it is very hard to find the exact meaning above sentecne through google, translation machine, and dictionary. I would be grateful if you teach more specific nuance of the sentence.

  • 2
    It implies that she could avoid this situation - maybe she is not managing her time very well, leading to unnecessary stress, or maybe the situation really is stressful but she is not managing the stress very well.
    – user339660
    Jul 11, 2019 at 9:32
  • @Minty Or she's not asking for help, or she's not delegating enough, or she's really been given too much work. In some way she is overburdened.. Jul 11, 2019 at 9:36

1 Answer 1


the figurative of top OED; and let:

on top of a phrase

burdensome to, too much for


transitive. Not to prevent; to suffer, permit, allow.

As in your sample:

She's allowing, intentionally or unintentionally, parts of her work to be a burdensome and over-whelming.

And as in:

1974 A. Morice Killing with Kindness I didn't mean to be rude. It's all got so much on top of me that I don't know what I'm saying half the time.


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