3

I haven't succeed with a research of the phrase below cited from the House M.D. - Love Hurts, episode 7x06.

Dr. Lisa Cuddy:

The two of you have a combined IQ north of 300.

What does north of xxx means in case of using with a number, not direction?

Where is likely the usage of this phrase and in what situations?

Do exist another phrases using others of he world sides (sout, west, east) in a similar context?

  • English uses directions in peculiar ways in a few contexts: bigger, as in north of xxx, as you used; and deteriorating or falling apart, particularly a situation, as in "the entire company is going south", to list a couple. I can't think of any non-standard usages of east or west. – Jim MacKenzie Aug 11 '17 at 22:25
9

On a standard map, north is on top, south on the bottom (and east / west right and left respectively).

This image is the base for using north / south figuratively:

  • If something is north of, it's above or over,
  • if it's south of, it's below the value or threshold mentioned in the context.

So you can rephrase your example as

... a combined IQ over 300.

(East and west are rarely used in a similarly figurative sense.)

  • Sounds reasonable, thanks for the answer. Do you know in what places I can hear this phrase more likely? – Nikolas Aug 11 '17 at 21:09
  • 2
    Related, with origins and several examples: english.stackexchange.com/questions/42358/… – Adam Aug 11 '17 at 21:27
  • 1
    It could be used in any context related to a measurement or amount, such as a weight or an amount of money. It seems to me that using it with a period of time (e.g., “I’ve lived here for north of twenty-five years”) would be awkward but understandable. – Scott Aug 12 '17 at 2:46
  • The enemy's gate is down. – candied_orange Aug 12 '17 at 4:40
  • ^ Explanation – Stephie Aug 12 '17 at 4:51
0

The sentence means that they have a combined IQ above 300.

You can find the definition here: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/pt/dicionario/ingles/north-of-sth

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.