What Does The Phrase "Raise The Bar" Mean?


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Christopher Adam Profile
The phrase "raise the bar" usually means to raise the standards. This phrase can be employed in a variety of contexts. It is, however, most commonly used when referring to entrance requirements in colleges and universities, as well as for educational standards in most schools. If a university were to require that all in-coming students have an "A" rather than a "B" average, one could say that the school has raised the bar.

This expression is most often used in the United States and in North America, more generally. It has become somewhat of a cliché over the years, from overuse in colloquial speech.

In a more literal sense, this phrase can also mean raising the bar used in sports such as high jumping, or pole vaulting. In most contexts, however, this phrase is used to invoke a symbolic, rather than literal meaning.

A related phrase is to "raise the stakes." This usually implies doing something that will augment the level of risk.

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