have had it up to here: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘have had it up to here’ mean?

The idiom "have had it up to here" means being extremely frustrated or fed up with something. It signifies reaching a limit or threshold of tolerance.

Idiom Explorer

Surprising Origin

The idiom "have had it up to here" is a commonly used expression in American English. It is often said in frustration or annoyance, indicating that a person has reached the limit of their patience or tolerance with a particular situation or individual. The idiom is used to convey a sense of exasperation or being fed up.

One key aspect of this idiom is the use of the phrase "up to here." This phrase is a metaphorical way of indicating the level of someone's frustration. It suggests that the person has reached a breaking point, similar to a container being filled to its maximum capacity. The word "here" represents the point at which the frustration has become too much to bear.

The origin of the idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have emerged in American English in the mid-20th century. It likely evolved from other expressions that convey a similar meaning, such as "being at the end of one's rope" or "reaching the boiling point."

The idiom "have had it up to here" is versatile and can be used in various contexts. It can describe frustration with a specific person, such as a difficult coworker or an unreasonable boss. It can also express irritation with a particular situation, like long hours at work or ongoing problems at home. Additionally, the idiom can suggest that a person is tired of a repeated behavior or action.

For example, if someone is constantly being interrupted by a colleague during meetings, they might say, "I have had it up to here with their constant interruptions!" This conveys their frustration and annoyance with the repeated behavior of their coworker.

Another related idiom is "have had it," which also expresses frustration or annoyance. This idiom is used when someone has reached their breaking point and can no longer tolerate a situation or individual. It is often used in a similar context to "have had it up to here."

I reached my limit, frustration and exhaustion overwhelmed me.

However, "have had it" does not specifically indicate the level of frustration or the breaking point. It is a more general expression of being fed up and unable to tolerate a particular situation any longer.

For example, if someone has been working overtime for weeks without any recognition or appreciation from their boss, they might exclaim, "I have had it with this job!" This shows their frustration and dissatisfaction with the overall situation.

Yet another related idiom is "up to here," which is often used to indicate the extent or limit of something. It can be used in a non-emotional context, such as discussing the level of water in a glass or the amount of work left to be completed.

However, when used in combination with "have had it," it takes on a metaphorical meaning of reaching a point of frustration or intolerance.

It is important to note that idioms like "have had it up to here" are not meant to be taken literally. They are figurative expressions that convey a specific meaning in certain contexts. Understanding their usage and meaning can help improve communication and convey emotions more effectively.

When using the idiom "have had it up to here," it is common to accompany it with a physical gesture, such as raising one hand to the level of the forehead or chin. This gesture helps to reinforce the visual representation of reaching a breaking point. However, the gesture is not essential for understanding the meaning of the idiom, as the phrase itself carries sufficient meaning.

The idiom "have had it up to here" is a widely recognized expression in American English that signifies frustration and a person's inability to tolerate a situation or individual any longer. Although its exact origin remains uncertain, the idiom's metaphorical usage and accompanying gesture convey a clear message of exasperation. This idiom reflects the diverse range of emotions and experiences that individuals encounter in their daily lives, highlighting the universal aspects of human frustration and the need for emotional release.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "have had it up to here" can be used in a sentence:

  • I have had it up to here with your constant excuses.
  • We have had it up to here with the noisy neighbors next door.
  • The employees have had it up to here with their unreasonable workload.

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