Off the top of my head

Ideas coming out of a man's head
Thinking off the top of your head

If you say something off the top of your head, you speak without giving too much thought to the accuracy or quality of your ideas. We use this expression when we want to say something on the spot, but when we are not certain that the information is entirely correct.

If you include the phrase off the top of my head, it lets your listener know that you are speaking from memory and that you have not verified the accuracy of the information. You can use this expression when you are talking about new or unfamiliar topics in a spontaneous way and do not want to be held accountable for a lack of knowledge or a foggy memory. It is also useful when giving estimates.

This expression is common in business settings as well as in everyday life, and it is appropriate for use in both contexts. For example:

  • I don't remember the name of the restaurant off the top of my head, but I think it's something like "Noodle House Express."
  • I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but I think they're expecting to make around $200,000 this quarter.

A. Let's reflect on our performance at our last client meeting. What did we do well and what do we still need to improve on?
B. Well, just off the top of my head, I'd say that we did a great job capturing our client's interest. They seemed engaged right from the get-go.

Did you know? This idiom originated in America in the mid-1900s and it was used for the same purpose that it is today.