Above and over are synonymous prepositions when they indicate elevation in position. They seldom imply contact between that which is higher and that which is lower; as a rule they allow an interval.
Over and above differ in that over usually implies verticality while above may or may not. Thus the entire second story of a building is above but only a small part of it is directly over one who stands on the ground floor.
Between the extended senses analogous relations hold. Over and above agree in the idea of superiority but differ in the immediacy of reference.
Thus, the rank of ambassador is above that of minister but the British ambassador is not over the Portuguese minister; he stands in that relation to his own subordinates only.
Similarly above and over indicate a relationship of excess.
- His strength is above the average.
- We now have over half the amount required.
- We shall not be tempted above our power to resist.
Above only, however, implies transcendence.
- I rate her above most other players of her age.