better of

the better of (someone or something)

Superiority, mastery, or an advantage over someone or something; control over someone or something. I know we could have beaten them in last week's game, but they just got the better of us from the get-go. I knew I shouldn't be meddling in other people's business, but my curiosity got the better of me.
See also: better, of

*better of someone

 and *the best of someone
triumph over someone. (*Typically: get ~; have ~.) Bill got the best of John in the boxing match. I tried to get the better of Tom in the golf match, but he won anyway.
See also: better, of
References in classic literature ?
Stryver (after notifying to his jackal that "he had thought better of that marrying matter") had carried his delicacy into Devonshire, and when the sight and scent of flowers in the City streets had some waifs of goodness in them for the worst, of health for the sickliest, and of youth for the oldest, Sydney's feet still trod those stones.