Up to eleven
"Up to eleven" or "these go to eleven" is an idiom from popular culture, coined in the movie This Is Spinal Tap, which has come to refer to anything being exploited to its utmost abilities, or apparently exceeding them, such as a sound volume control. Similarly, the expression "turning it up to eleven" refers to the act of taking something to an extreme. In 2002 the phrase entered the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary with the definition "up to maximum volume".
Original scene from This Is Spinal Tap 
The phrase was coined in a scene from the 1984 mockumentary/rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap by the character Nigel Tufnel, played by Christopher Guest. In this scene Nigel gives the rockumentary's director, Marty DiBergi, played by Rob Reiner, a tour of his stage equipment. While Nigel is showing Marty his Marshall guitar amplifiers, he points out one in particular whose control knobs all have the highest setting of eleven, unlike standard amplifiers, whose volume settings are typically numbered from 0 to 10, believing that this numbering actually increases the volume of the amp ("It's one louder"). When Marty asks why the ten setting is not simply set to be louder, Nigel pauses, clearly confused, before responding, "These go to eleven".
Real life 
As a consequence of the film, real bands and musicians started buying equipment whose knobs went up to 11, or even higher, with Eddie Van Halen reputedly being the first to do so. Marshall, the company that provided amplifiers for the film that the custom marked knobs were applied to, now sells amplifiers such as its JCM900 (first sold in 1990) whose knobs are marked from 0 to 20.
The BBC iPlayer and other media on the BBC website has a volume control that goes up to 11.
The Tesla Model S automobile's music volume controls go up to 11.
Cultural references 
In the song "Man Overboard" by Puscifer, Maynard Keenan uses the lyrics "Poseidon's on a mission, 'Bout to turn it up to eleven"
See also 
|Look up up to eleven in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- "Tardis lands in dictionary of today" by Alan Hamilton Times Online September 26, 2002
- Memorable Quotes from This Is Spinal Tap IMDB.com
- "The Script to This is Spinal Tap, v3.". Corky.net. 1995-03-01. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
- Karl French (2000-09-22). "The A-Z of Spinal Tap". The Guardian.
- "Eleven". Spinal Tap A to Zed.
- This Is Spinal Tap at the Internet Movie Database
- "Spinal Tap Amps". XKCD.