on high


adjective, higher, highest.
having a great or considerable extent or reach upward or vertically; lofty; tall: a high wall.
having a specified extent upward: The apple tree is now 20 feet high.
situated above the ground or some base; elevated: a high platform; a high ledge.
exceeding the common degree or measure; strong; intense: high speed; high color.
expensive; costly; dear: The price of food these days is much too high.
exalted in rank, station, eminence, etc.; of exalted character or quality: a high official; high society.
acute in pitch.
a little sharp, or above the desired pitch.
produced by relatively rapid vibrations; shrill: the high sounds of crickets.
extending to or from an elevation: a high dive.
great in quantity, as number, degree, or force: a high temperature; high cholesterol.
chief; principal; main: the high altar of a church.
High Church.
of great consequence; important; grave; serious; the high consequences of such a deed; high treason.
haughty; arrogant: He took a high tone with his subordinates.
advanced to the utmost extent or to the culmination: high tide.
elevated; merry or hilarious: high spirits; a high old time.
rich; extravagant; luxurious: They have indulged in high living for years.
Informal. intoxicated with alcohol or narcotics: He was so high he couldn't stand up.
remote: high latitude; high antiquity.
extreme in opinion or doctrine, especially religious or political: a high Tory.
designating or pertaining to highland or inland regions.
having considerable energy or potential power.
Automotive. of, pertaining to, or operating at the gear transmission ratio at which the speed of the engine crankshaft and of the drive shaft most closely correspond: high gear.
Phonetics. (of a vowel) articulated with the upper surface of the tongue relatively close to some portion of the palate, as the vowels of eat and it, which are high front, and those of boot and put, which are high back. Compare close ( def 53 ), low1 ( def 30 ).
(of meat, especially game) tending toward a desirable or undesirable amount of decomposition; slightly tainted: He likes his venison high.
Metallurgy. containing a relatively large amount of a specified constituent (usually used in combination): high-carbon steel.
Baseball. (of a pitched ball) crossing the plate at a level above the batter's shoulders: The pitch was high and outside.
having greater value than other denominations or suits.
able to take a trick; being a winning card.
being or having a winning combination: Whose hand is high?
Nautical. noting a wind of force 10 on the Beaufort scale, equal to a whole gale.
adverb, higher, highest.
at or to a high point, place, or level.
in or to a high rank or estimate: He aims high in his political ambitions.
at or to a high amount or price.
in or to a high degree.
luxuriously; richly; extravagantly: They have always lived high.
Nautical. as close to the wind as is possible while making headway with sails full.
Automotive. high gear: He shifted into high when the road became level.
Informal. high school.
Meteorology. a pressure system characterized by relatively high pressure at its center. Compare anticyclone, low1 ( def 46 ).
a high or the highest point, place, or level; peak: a record high for unemployment.
a euphoric state induced by alcohol, drugs, etc.
a period of sustained excitement, exhilaration, or the like: After winning the lottery he was on a high for weeks.
Cards. the ace or highest trump out, especially in games of the all fours family.
fly high, to be full of hope or elation: His stories began to sell, and he was flying high.
high and dry,
(of a ship) grounded so as to be entirely above water at low tide.
in a deprived or distressing situation; deserted; stranded: We missed the last bus and were left high and dry.
high and low, in every possible place; everywhere: The missing jewelry was never found, though we searched high and low for it.
high on, Informal. enthusiastic or optimistic about; having a favorable attitude toward or opinion of.
on high,
at or to a height; above.
in heaven.
having a high position, as one who makes important decisions: the powers on high.

before 900; Middle English heigh, variant of hegh, hey, heh, Old English hēah, hēh; cognate with Dutch hoog, Old High German hoh (German hoch), Old Norse hār, Swedish hög, Gothic hauhs, Lithuanian kaũkas swelling, kaukarà hill

overhigh, adjective
overhighly, adverb

1. hi, hie, high (see synonym study at the current entry) ; 2. higher, hire (see synonym study at hire).

1. High, lofty, tall, towering refer to something that has considerable height. High is a general term, and denotes either extension upward or position at a considerable height: six feet high; a high shelf. Lofty denotes imposing or even inspiring height: lofty crags. Tall is applied either to something that is high in proportion to its breadth, or to anything higher than the average of its kind: a tall tree, building. Towering is applied to something that rises to a great or conspicuous height as compared with something else: a towering mountain. 6. elevated, eminent, prominent, distinguished. 12. capital.

1. low.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To on high
World English Dictionary
high (haɪ)
1.  being a relatively great distance from top to bottom; tall: a high building
2.  situated at or extending to a relatively great distance above the ground or above sea level: a high plateau
3.  a.  (postpositive) being a specified distance from top to bottom: three feet high
 b.  (in combination): a seven-foot-high wall
4.  extending from an elevation: a high dive
5.  (in combination) coming up to a specified level: knee-high
6.  being at its peak or point of culmination: high noon
7.  of greater than average height: a high collar
8.  greater than normal in degree, intensity, or amount: high prices; a high temperature; a high wind
9.  of large or relatively large numerical value: high frequency; high voltage; high mileage
10.  (of sound) acute in pitch; having a high frequency
11.  (of latitudes) situated relatively far north or south from the equator
12.  (of meat) slightly decomposed or tainted, regarded as enhancing the flavour of game
13.  of great eminence; very important: the high priestess
14.  exalted in style or character; elevated: high drama
15.  expressing or feeling contempt or arrogance: high words
16.  elated; cheerful: high spirits
17.  informal (predicative) overexcited: by the end of term the children are really high
18.  informal being in a state of altered consciousness, characterized esp by euphoria and often induced by the use of alcohol, narcotics, etc
19.  luxurious or extravagant: high life
20.  advanced in complexity or development: high finance
21.  Compare low (of a gear) providing a relatively great forward speed for a given engine speed
22.  phonetics Compare low of, relating to, or denoting a vowel whose articulation is produced by raising the back of the tongue towards the soft palate or the blade towards the hard palate, such as for the ee in English see or oo in English moon
23.  (capital when part of name) formal and elaborate in style: High Mass
24.  (usually capital) of or relating to the High Church
25.  remote, esp in time
26.  cards
 a.  having a relatively great value in a suit
 b.  able to win a trick
27.  high and dry stranded; helpless; destitute
28.  high and low in all places; everywhere
29.  informal high and mighty arrogant
30.  informal high as a kite
 a.  very drunk
 b.  overexcited
 c.  euphoric from drugs
31.  high opinion a favourable opinion
32.  at or to a height: he jumped high
33.  in a high manner
34.  nautical close to the wind with sails full
35.  a high place or level
36.  informal a state of altered consciousness, often induced by alcohol, narcotics, etc
37.  another word for anticyclone
38.  short for high school
39.  (capital) (esp in Oxford) the High Street
40.  electronics Compare low the voltage level in a logic circuit corresponding to logical one
41.  on high
 a.  at a height
 b.  in heaven
[Old English hēah; related to Old Norse hār, Gothic hauhs, Old High German hōh high, Lithuanian kaũkas bump, Russian kúchča heap, Sanskrit kuča bosom]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. heh (Anglian), heah (W.Saxon) "of great height, lofty, tall, exalted," from P.Gmc. *kaukhaz (cf. O.S. hoh, O.N. har, Dan. høi, Swed. hög, O.Fris. hach, Du. hoog, O.H.G. hoh, Ger. hoch, Goth. hauhs "high;" also Ger. Hügel "hill," O.N. haugr "mound"), from PIE *koukos (cf. Lith.
kaukara "hill"). Spelling with -gh represents a final guttural sound, lost since 14c. Meaning "euphoric or exhilarated from alcohol" is first attested 1620s, of drugs, first recorded 1932. Sense of "proud, haughty, supercilious" (c.1200) is reflected in high hand (late 14c.) and high horse (see horse). High seas first attested late 14c., with sense (also found in the L. cognate) of "deep" as well as "tall" (cf. also O.Pers. baran "height, depth"). High-class (adj.) is from 1864. To high-tail "move quickly" is slang attested by 1890, from cattle ranches (animals fleeing with elevated tails). Highlands "mountainous district of Scotland" first recorded early 15c. High-roller "extravagant spender" is from 1881. Your Highness as a form of address to English royalty is attested from c.1400.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

on high

  1. Up in the sky; also, in heaven. For example, They fixed their eyes on high, looking for the comet, or, in the Bible (Psalms 63:5), "The Lord our God who dwelleth on high." [c. 1200]

  2. In a position of authority, as in Those on high have decreed that we work every other weekend. This usage is an ironic transfer from def. 1. Also see powers that be.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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