Is there a single word for "going the extra mile"?

If possible carrying the connotation, if not the denotation, of being awed and possibly humbled by the lengths to which someone went.

  • 3
    I went with another phrase... "surpassed all expectations".
    – user14070
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 2:55

6 Answers 6


Going strictly for a single word, I come up with outperform and overachieve, neither of which are really 100% fits; or perhaps shined:

Wow, you/he/she really shined tonight

as in, did (whatever it was) like a star. (Although, "shone" as the past-tense form may be more idiomatic in that context.)

  • +1 for "overachieve"... funny how that wasn't what I was looking for in the answer, but how I actually felt in the case I was trying to apply it to.
    – user14070
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 2:52
  • +1 for good words. Strongly suggest shone as it is the past tense of the intransitive verb. Shined is the past tense of the transitive verb. In context, it suggests that “tonight” is getting a shine.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 16:10

Here is one possibility: striving.

  • +1 as striving also fits in my context.
    – user14070
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 2:54

Definitely not one word, but one number: 110%.

  • 1
    I just don't like the logical fallacy involved.
    – user14070
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 15:35
  • 3
    The extra mile, too, could be nonsensical, if you take it literally. Would you go the extra mile to get from point A to point B? Then you're at point C. :)
    – JeffSahol
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 15:48

Supererogation: The performance of more work than duty requires. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 10th edition)

The the thing about this word is, it sounds rather dry and technical compared to 'going the extra mile'. Another notable point is that neither my quoted source or the on-line Merriam-Webster dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supererogation) list a verb form. To my mind, it isn't much of a stretch to say 'he/she supererogated', but just so you know, that isn't standard English.

You can still describe an act as 'supererogative', though.

  • Welcome to ELU, but please make your answers self-contained. Not everyone will know what "Merriam-Webster" is, especially if they are from one of the many English-speaking countries where that is not a commonly used dictionary (as am I). As a minimum, please link to it, but it is better also to quote the relevant definition.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 13:36
  • 'Supererogation' seems perfectly valid. An experienced member might have edited it to include the missing definition and reference. I don't think this answer deserved to be as discredited as it appeared to be with all of 3 down-votes. Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 14:01
  • if @paul had originally revised his answer and included his thoughts then I'm sure he would have received fewer downvotes. But it has been edited and improved (by D.M.Davidson) so at least it conforms to ELU standards. Reverse down-vote from me.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 14:48

I would go for "above and beyond"

  • Welcome to EL&U. Please consider improving your answer by adding the connotation, etc., the OP asked for, and by including references. Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 3:56

Also not a single word, but a common idiomatic expression is...

You really outdid yourself there!

...but this tends to be used either ironically (a gaffe-prone person did/said something particularly gauche) or in contexts where the performance being praised was in any case intended to be entertaining or impressive (but turned out to be exceptionally so).

In more "workaday" contexts - for example, I call a mobile mechanic because my car battery is flat, and he checks my oil/water/tyres while boost-charging it, I'd probably say

You're a star!

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