Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to transom: over the transom
come (in) over the transom
To be offered without prior agreement, consent, or arrangement; to be unsolicited or uninvited. Said especially of written works submitted for publication or consideration. My biggest task as an intern was sorting through and usually disposing of amateur works that came over the transom. Any journalist will tell you that a great story doesn't come in over the transom—you have to go and do the leg work to find one.
over the transom
Without prior agreement, consent, or arrangement; unsolicited or uninvited. Said especially of written works submitted for publication or consideration. Sometimes hyphenated. My biggest task as an intern was sorting through and usually disposing of amateur works that came over the transom. I could tell the poor kid needed a job, but all I could do was stick his application in with all the other over-the-transom applications.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
over the transomoffered or sent without prior agreement; unsolicited. US informal
A transom is a crossbar set above a door or window, and the word can also be used, especially in American English, as a term for a small window set above this crossbar. In former times, before the advent of air conditioning, many offices would leave these windows open for the purposes of ventilation, thereby allowing an aspiring author to take their manuscript to an editor's office and slip it through the open window to land on the floor inside. So, a manuscript that arrived over the transom was one that was unexpected. The phrase is still often used in publishing contexts, although it is no longer confined to them.
1976 Piers Anthony But What of Earth? Editors claim to be deluged with appallingly bad material ‘over the transom’ from unagented writers.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
over the transom
Without being agreed to; unsolicited: They even publish a few manuscripts that come in over the transom.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
come in over the transom
Arrive as an unsolicited communication, most often a manuscript submitted to a publisher. The transom referred to is a small window above a door and was found in many offices before the advent of central air conditioning. Although the literal meaning has vanished with the existence of transoms, it continues to be used for manuscripts not submitted through an agent or requested by an editor. With the increasing development of self-publishing, the cliché may be heading toward obsolescence. However, it is still used sometimes for other matters, such as “We’ve had nearly one hundred job applications come in over the transom.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer