Top of the Hour

The news is on the top of the hour. Pic: www2.tv-ark.org.uk

“We have the news for you on the top of the hour”  – when I first heard that sentence a few years back, or one very much like it, I did a bit of a double take.  I kind of knew what they meant but wasn’t entirely sure whether my intuitive understanding was correct of wildly off (as intuition can sometimes be).

By now this expression has become so common that I hear it almost every day when/if I listen to the radio.  On the top of the hour is when the news are normally being broadcast, that is the full hour, when the minute hand of the clock is pointing straight up.   The bottom of the hour is the opposite: on the half hour.I have heard the expression also used in the context f baseball, as in “the top of the inning”.  In this context it means the first half of an inning, during which the visiting team bats.

Then, of course, there is the expression “on top of the world” – but we all understand that one.

 

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