Up to Eleven

aka: Up To 11
Try to top this.
Nigel Tufnel: What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put [the volume] up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

Exceeding the previous maximum, to an exaggerated degree.

For some people more is always better. Exactly what there is more of can vary. More volume, more power, more pretty, more money, more more. Whichever, this trope is about setting a whole new "most" for anything.

For those who aren't into electric guitar, "Taking it up to eleven" is a reference to the maximum volume setting on a guitar amplifier. In a nice example of Defictionalization, Marshall came out with an amp that went up to 11, mostly in response to the trope being used in "This Is Spinal Tap." Later, many Marshall amplifiers began to sport 0-20 volume knobs, essentially taking the trope itself Up To Eleven.

Conspicuous Consumption and Absurdly High-Stakes Game often involves this. Compare Serial Escalation, Sequel Escalation, Tim Taylor Technology, Exaggerated Trope, The Same but More, Comical Overreacting, Rank Inflation, Loud of War, Readings Are Off the Scale, Loudness War, and Lensman Arms Race.

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  • What's the difference between a musician, an engineer, and an entrepreneur? A musician says "This amp goes up to 11!" An engineer says "It has the same amount of power, all they did was add an additional designation to divide that power." An entrepreneur says "For the right price I can get you one that goes up to 12."

     Professional Wrestling 
  • King Kong Bundy has, as a central part of his gimmick, the "five-count". Normal pinfalls go to a three-count; when Bundy pins someone, to show how badly he's beaten them, he holds up a hand and yells "FIVE!", demanding the referee count to five instead.
    • A fairly common joke on commentary when an opponent gets knocked out cold is that the referee could count to 100 and the pin would still be successful.
  • The Rock writes in his autobiography, “The Rock is Dwayne Johnson … with the volume … turned … WAY … UP!”note 

  • There is a game in improvisational theater called "Toppers", which is this trope.
  • Lyrically referenced in one of the choruses of the song "Raise Your Voice" from the musical version of Sister Act.

Alternative Title(s):

Goes To Eleven, Turned Up To Eleven, Up To 11