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gain the upper hand

To come to be in a position of advantage, power, and/or control (over someone, something, or some situation). We've been doing everything we can for your father, but I'm afraid the cancer is gaining the upper hand. The home team gained the upper hand when their opponents' star quarterback went out with an injury.
See also: gain, hand, upper

gain ground against (something)

In finance, especially regarding currency, to increase in value in comparison to something else. With Europe's economy still struggling to recover, the US Dollar continued to gain ground against the Euro on Friday.
See also: gain, ground

what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts

The losses, setbacks, or negative aspects of a certain situation are offset or balanced by equally advantageous or positive elements, or vice versa. (The formation of the phrase can also be reversed.) Primarily heard in UK. This promotion has meant I can provide for my family much more easily, but it's so demanding that I don't see them all that much—what you gain on the swings, you lose on the roundabouts. People here complain about the high level of taxes, but what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts—if I were to go into the hospital tomorrow for a major operation, I wouldn't pay a thing.
See also: gain, lose, on, roundabout

a penny saved is a penny gained

Every small amount helps to build one's savings (i.e. by saving a penny, you have one more penny). I'm trying not to spend much money right now because, you know what they say, a penny saved is a penny gained .
See also: gain, penny, save

gain entrance

To enter a place or location upon acquiring permission or a means of access. After getting the security guard's attention, we were able to gain entrance to the building.
See also: entrance, gain

gain dominion over someone or something

to achieve total authority over someone or something. The dictator sought to gain dominion over the entire country. Harry was not happy until he had gained dominion over the people who worked for him.
See also: gain

gain from something

to benefit from something. I hope you gain from this experience. What do you think I will gain from this?
See also: gain

gain ground

to make progress; to advance; to become more important or popular. Our new product is gaining ground against that of our competitor. Since the government announced its new policies, the opposition has been gaining ground.
See also: gain, ground

gain in something

to advance in a particular quality. Todd grew in stature and gained in wisdom. Mary gained in experience as the weeks went on.
See also: gain

gain on someone or something

to begin to catch up or move ahead of someone or something. We were gaining on them when they suddenly sped up. Our horse was gaining on the horse in front.
See also: gain, on

gain something by doing something

to achieve some benefit by doing something. What did he gain by dropping out of school? I will gain some degree of security by investing in U.S. Treasury bonds.
See also: gain

gain something from something

to earn or achieve something from something. I hope you gain something worthwhile from all this. I know I will gain some valuable experience from this job.
See also: gain

ill-gotten gains

money or other possessions acquired in a dishonest or illegal fashion. Bill cheated at cards and is now living on his ill-gotten gains. Mary is enjoying her ill-gotten gains. She deceived an old lady into leaving her $5,000 in her will.
See also: gain

No pain, no gain.

Fig. If you want to improve, you must work so hard that it hurts. (Associated with sports and physical exercise.) Player: I can't do any more push-ups. My muscles hurt. Coach: No pain, no gain. Come on, everybody! Run one more lap! No pain, no gain!
See also: gain

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If you do not take risks, you will never accomplish anything. Bill: Should I ask my boss for a promotion? Jane: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I think I'll audition for a part in that play. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
See also: gain, nothing

One man's loss is another man's gain.

Prov. When one person loses something, another person gets it. (You can substitute appropriate names or pronouns for the phrases one man's and another man's, as in the second example.) Mike found a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk. "One man's loss is another man's gain," he thought to himself, as he took the money. Jane: Andy just got fired. Jill: I know. And Andy's loss is my gain; I'm getting promoted to his job!
See also: another, gain, loss, one

gain ground

to become more successful The United States is gaining ground as a cotton producer.
Opposite of: lose ground
See also: gain, ground

gain ground on somebody/something

to get a bigger share compared to others The company's software business is gaining ground on its biggest competitor.
Opposite of: lose ground to somebody/something
Etymology: based on the military meaning of gain ground (to advance and get control of an area from an enemy)
See also: gain, ground, on

gain ground

if a political party or a belief gains ground, it becomes more popular or accepted (often in continuous tenses) The Republicans are gaining ground in the Southern states.
See have the upper hand
See also: gain, ground

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

something that you say which means that it is necessary to take risks in order to achieve something We tried to make television programmes that were new and different, and we weren't always successful, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
See also: gain, nothing

it's swings and roundabouts

  (British & Australian) also what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts (British & Australian)
something that you say to describe a situation in which there are as many advantages as there are problems If you make more money, you have to pay more tax, so what we gain on the swings, we lose on the roundabouts. It's swings and roundabouts, really. If you save money by buying a house out of town, you pay more to travel to work.
See also: and, roundabout, swing

gain ground

1. Advance, make progress; also, win acceptance. For example, The new conservation policy is gaining ground among the voters. This expression alludes to a military advance in which an army literally takes territory from the enemy. Its figurative use dates from about 1800. For an antonym, see lose ground.
2. gain ground on or upon . Encroach on, advance at the expense of. For example, Door-to-door canvassing helped them gain ground on the opposition.
See also: gain, ground

ill-gotten gains

Benefits obtained in an evil manner or by dishonest means, as in They duped their senile uncle into leaving them a fortune and are now enjoying their ill-gotten gains . [Mid-1800s]
See also: gain

no pain, no gain

Suffering is needed to make progress, as in I've worked for hours on those irregular French verbs, but no pain, no gain. Although this idiom is often associated with athletic coaches who urge athletes to train harder, it dates from the 1500s and was already in John Ray's proverb collection of 1670 as "Without pains, no gains."
See also: gain

nothing ventured, nothing gained

One must take risks to achieve something, as in They quit their jobs, packed up, and moved to Wisconsin, saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Although this adage has appeared in slightly different form since the late 1300s, it was first recorded in this form only in 1624. For another version, see no pain, no gain.
See also: gain, nothing

gain in

To increase with respect to something: The athlete gained in strength, but lost in agility.
See also: gain

gain on

To get closer to something or someone, often in pursuit; close a gap: Run faster—the stampeding cattle are gaining on us!
See also: gain, on

gain ground

To progress, advance, or increase: Stock prices gained ground yesterday.
See also: gain, ground

gain time

1. To run too fast. Used of a timepiece.
2. To delay or prolong something until a desired event occurs.
See also: gain, time
References in periodicals archive ?
We go back awhile, and we don't get along," Gaines says of Arkla.
In 2010, a jury awarded Gaines more than $8 million in damages.
Gaines also received the Democrat of the Year and Distinguished Service awards from the Democratic Town Committee, of which she is an active member.
Gaines later told deputies that the boy he head-butted and his friends had attempted to pick a fight with Gaines' younger brother in a dispute about a girl, the ruling said.
Stormdancer, a former Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old gelding, gets the ball rolling, and Gaines said: "He looks tremendous at the moment and is remarkably well.
So Gaines set out to "work like hell" to avoid making "a complete fool" of himself as a suicidal advertising executive who finds to his surprise that he prefers swinging on a dance floor to swinging from a rope.
In spiritual direction, there's the assumption that the person is already whole, but maybe hasn't embraced their wholeness fully," says Gaines.
In Of Love and Dust Gaines employs the black trickster figure (in the character of Marcus) but turns this citation of folk humor to tragic purpose connected with a regenerative vision of race relations.
This is a time of reflection for all to remember Victoria Gaines, my beautiful daughter, whose life was senselessly and needlessly lost last 4th of July.
Gaines and Jackson will sit out the fall for "failure to maintain the minimum academic standards required by the NCAA," according to a UO release.
Gaines joins double board certified physician Christopher Senger MD, known for his skills and reputation in anti-aging and regenerative medicine, and AAG's nationwide network of anti-aging practitioners.
Jerry Brown are working across the aisle to create an incentives package to try to woo the auto manufacturer, Gaines said, including various tax credits and long-term work to improve the state regulatory and tax climate for all businesses.
AUBURN -- Esther "Betty'' Gaines, 90, has only one regret at this point in her long life.
Police said Womack was driving a 2004 Chevy Tahoe that rear-ended a 1997 Saturn sedan driven by Barbara Ann Gaines, 77, of Springfield.
Authorities believe Williams, who owns multiple properties near Nashville, offered Gaines five months of rent-free lodging and $1,000 to torch two properties to collect an insurance payout.