Where Did The "Over The Hill" Saying Come From?

by Pinkchic18

Have you ever wondered where the famous phrase 'over the hill' came from? It's often a mystery that we don't even think about. But if you want to know the origin here's the answer!

The History of "Over the Hill"

Originated in England

We’ve all heard an older person being called “Over the Hill.” What does this saying mean and where did it come from?

The saying has been in use since the early 1900s and seems to have originated in England. The idea behind this idiom is that a person is advancing up the hill of life in the first forty hears and once turning forty, starts to descend that hill. All the rest is “downhill” after that. The expression is used to convey that someone is past their prime, is old beyond usefulness, or is no longer able to perform the way they used to. While it is used in a jovial but taunting manner for well-wishers at a party for someone turning a milestone age, it is not considered good form to seriously refer to someone as “Over the Hill.”

Have Good Taste

Throw the Party Light-Heartedly

Over The Hill parties are a fun, tongue-in-cheek way to throw a celebration for an aging friend. Whether they are turning 30, 40, 50 or older, it’s appropriate to organize a party that centers on the Over The Hill theme.

Today, with people living such active lifestyles, a person is no longer considered old at 40. So, poking fun at that milestone birthday can be a nice idea if you do it right.

Over the Hill Themes

Ideas & Inspiration

Traditionally, Over The Hill celebrations feature either a cemetery/grave type theme or a “maladies of old age” theme. But there are plenty of other over the hill birthday party supplies out there (photo to the right courtesy of Wedding Favors Unlimited.com).

You can decorate all in black and have a “morbid” theme. Ask everyone to come in black attire.

Have a cake in the shape of a tombstone. Do it up with black napkins and black crepe paper.

You can read a eulogy about the birthday boy and even have someone wear a grim reaper costume from a Halloween shop.

If done in a light-hearted spirit, it can be extremely funny.

Find Props

Check these out
Over the Hill Walker

You are now entering the "Slow and Old Zone." This is the perfect gag gift for the aging geriatric! This inflatable walker has funny sayings written all over it and features a ...

Only $26.99
Over-The-Hill Street Sign Cutouts

Over-The-Hill Street Sign Cutouts

$8.5  $8.49
Over the Hill Survival Kit

A must have when traveling to geezerville! This survival kit is the perfect gag gift for the mature set. Kit includes Gray B Gone Hair Dye, Aging Pills, Anti-aging Soap, Oil ...

Only $27.98
Laid Back Old Whiney Sippie Wine Glass

The Old Whiney Sippie Glass is an 8-ounce acrylic wine glass with a special sippie lid. It comes packaged in an acrylic box with a humorous gift tag attached. Makes a great ...

Only $19.98

Food and Gifts

What to Have and Give

Image by tawest64 on FlickrThe other version of the Over The Hill theme brings in props that refer to the illnesses and infirmities of old age. You can have walkers, canes, adult potty chairs, and any other items from a medical supply store. You can give gag over the hill gifts like adult diapers, denture cream, laxatives, and arthritis cream. You can have soft foods like mashed potatoes and peas. You can have wheelchair races and other elderly-themed activities.

There are a number of sites online that sell really cute over-the-hill gag gifts for the birthday girl or boy. Everything from a “constipation emergency kit” to a giant pink rubber “age eraser” and anti-balding kit are available. Add in some Over The Hill parking signs and wake-up horns and you’ll really get the theme across. Another favorite is the birthday candle extinguisher kit which is actually a mini fire extinguisher (designed to mock the fact that the elderly are short of breath.)  This sort of party can also be a really hysterical good time if done right.

More Interesting Articles

Check these out!

Planning Tips for An Over the Hill Birthday Party

Over The Hill Birthday Party Ideas - Milestone Birthdays

Over the Hill Party Game Ideas

Over the Hill Birthday Party Themes

When to Not Have the Party

Using Good Judgment

Whichever way you decide to celebrate an Over The Hill birthday, make sure to do it in good taste. If you have a very serious birthday girl who doesn’t want anyone to know how old she is, perhaps this theme isn’t the best choice. But if you have a fun-loving jokester in the family who just happens to be turning 50, go for it. The wackier the better.

What are your thoughts on "Over the Hill" parties?

Updated: 03/10/2014, Pinkchic18
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Tolovaj on 05/19/2013

Over the hill can be understood in very positive way too. After all a lot of things in life become easier after 40 - many people achieved something, have careers, maybe kids are not so dependent anymore, have more time to enjoy life, ... I think over the hill themed party is definitely something to celebrate, no matter if we are talking about 30, 40, 50, 60 or even higher number. Every milestone i passed, opened new interesting opportunities:)

ethelsmith on 03/03/2012

Well half way down the other side and facing another decade, so I would not mind being 40 again lol. New Wizz here,

katiem2 on 02/20/2012

I like Brenda's idea, we are living so much longer, but hey over the hill does mean all down hill from here, no matter how much longer you go maybe it just means easier, more relaxed and laid. I know I've got a long way to go but I know I'll never consider retiring, I love working.

Angel on 02/20/2012

Great page! I am 2 years away from the over the hill 40 party. ugggh.. My husband is 17 years older than me and I threw him a big 50 over the hill bash. He can't wait to throw my 40 yr shindig. Too funny.

BrendaReeves on 02/20/2012

I was going to say I think we should move over the hill to 80. I have a great sense of humor, but some people don't especially when it comes to age. I can always spot them and don't send them any funny aging birthday cards.

janices7 on 02/17/2012

Love the yard sign video! Thanks for sharing this interesting info.

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