up to eleven

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From a scene in the mockumentary This is Spinal Tap (1984), in which a musician shows off a guitar amplifier with setting knobs that go from zero to eleven, rather than the standard zero to ten.


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up to eleven

  1. (idiomatic) Beyond the maximum possible threshold
    • 1997, Matthew Branton, The Love Parade, Hamish Hamilton (1997), ↑ISBN, page 60:
      She and River looked at me hard; but I lowered my eyes and leaned forward, with the nonchalance turned up to eleven, extinguished my cigarette, made eye-contact and nodded curtly.
    • 2008, Tim Pratt, Poison Sleep, Bantam Spectra (2008), ↑ISBN, page 267:
      Flying is like motion sickness turned up to eleven, []
    • 2009, Robin Jones Gunn, Sisterchicks Go Brit!, Random House Books (2008), ↑ISBN, 147.
      “(...) ‘Oh, Lady Ebb, I'm up to eleven today after that last biscuit.’ (...)”
    • 2013, Mark Mason, Move Along, Please, Random House Books (2013), ↑ISBN, unnumbered page:
      As we reach the city today, rush hour has been turned up to eleven, so there's plenty of waiting in traffic.
    • 2014, Joseph O'Connor, The Thrill of it All, Random House Books (2014), ↑ISBN, unmarked page.
      It's not that London was unexciting. But I didn't understand it, felt lost. Its amp went up to eleven.
    • 2015, Charles Baxter, There's Something I Want You to Do: Stories, Random House Books (2015), ↑ISBN, unnumbered page.
      “But what our textbook said? Was that they had, you know, torture parties there. Once. Where torturers get drunk and the the dial up to eleven.”