over (one's) head
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
over (one's) head
1. Too complicated to be understood by one or someone else. My jokes always seem to go over Stephanie's head, so I'm glad you think I'm funny at least. A lot of this technical stuff is way over my head.
2. Bypassing one's or someone else's authority. She just wouldn't listen to me, so I had to go over her head to her boss and complain about it.
3. Lingering in one's mind as a source of concern or worry. All these bills are hanging over my head, and I don't get paid for another week. I'm so glad that exam is over—it's been over my head for months.
*over someone's head
1. Fig. [of the intellectual content of something] too difficult for someone to understand. (*Typically: be ~; go ~; pass ~.) All that talk about computers went over my head. I hope my lecture didn't go over the students'heads.
2. and *over someone; *above someone Fig. to an authority higher than someone. (*Typically: be ~; go ~.) I don't want to have to go over your head, but I will if necessary. I had to go over Fran to get it done. My boss wouldn't listen to my complaint, so I went above her.
over one's head
1. To a position higher than another's, as in She was furious when her assistant was promoted over her head. Similarly, go over someone's head means "appeal to a higher authority," as in Since she couldn't help me, I decided to go over her head and talk to her supervisor. [Mid-1500s]
2. Beyond one's understanding or competence, as in The math required to complete these figures is way over my head. [Early 1600s] For a synonym, see out of one's depth. Also see in deep (over one's head).
over your head1 beyond your ability to understand. 2 without your knowledge or involvement, especially when you have a right to this. 3 with disregard for your own (stronger) claim.
over somebody’s ˈheadto a higher position of authority than somebody: He gets angry when you go over his head and talk to his boss.
over one’s head
mod. confusing; too difficult to understand. This stuff is too hard. It’s over my head.