What is that mean in the following conversation (Inception movie):

Arthur: You couldn't have peed before you went under?

Yusuf: Sorry.

Eames: A bit too much free champagne before take off, Yusuf?

Yusuf: Ha ha, bloody ha.

It looks contradictory to me, because "bit" usually means a small amount of something, but "too much" has the opposite meaning. Could you explain that?

  • 3
    A bit too much is idiomatically standard. Any amount more than "enough" can be "too much", and there's nothing unusual about being only a little bit over the limit. Too much is too much, regardless of whether it's a bit too much, or much too much. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 18:47
  • I'd like to point out that if you ever find structures like this one in which one word means something and the word that follows means the opposite, you are in front of an oxymoron. Then again, I don't think bit too much is one, mayhap little bit too much is. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 18:50
  • @FumbleFingers In that particular conversation it means Yusuf take abit more than enough, right? Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 19:09
  • It's simple under-emphasis, in itself to provide emphasis; it means precisely the opposite... 'far too much'. A far clearer example would be to say that someone is a 'bit pregnant' - cut & dried, you cannot be 'partly pregnant' Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 19:15
  • @Tetsujin: Well, you're either pregnant or not - there's no "uncertainty at the margins". But in OP's context Yusuf might not have needed to pee if he'd drunk just one glass less of the free champagne - so he might literally have had just a bit too much. On the other hand, if someone says "What you just did was a bit stupid!", you don't console yourself by thinking "Phew! At least he doesn't think it's very stupid!" Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


There are two possible meanings.

  • The straight forward meaning is that Yusuf had a "bit" more champagne than would have been too much. For example, if two glasses would have been "enough", and four glasses would have been clearly "too much", then three glasses might have been "a bit too much".

  • The sarcastic meaning is that Yusuf had way more than "too much". Continuing the example, he might have had six or more glasses of champagne.

It seems that Yusuf drank himself unconscious, and "pissed himself" while drunk. This suggests that Yusuf had "way too much". Thus, the sarcastic meaning is more likely.

Pilots are not supposed to fly while buzzed, let alone drunk. Thus, one glass of champagne might be "too much" in this context.

  • There is one possible meaning - 'far too much'. It is common parlance, colloquial emphasis of how much too much. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 19:18

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