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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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
1. To advance toward a desired location. We need to start gaining ground if we want to get back to camp before sunset. The enemy forces are beginning to gain ground, and they're expected to reach the capital sometime tomorrow.
2. By extension, to make progress or obtain more success, popularity, importance, or acceptance. The opposition to vaccinating children, while still a definite minority, has been gaining ground in recent years. No one thought our fast food chain would do well in such a saturated market, but we've started gaining ground!
gain ground on (someone or something)
1. Of an opponent or enemy, to advance toward someone or something's position. The enemy forces are gaining ground on us. We need to move out! With the finish line only meters away, the runner turned back to see his rival gaining ground on him.
2. To encroach on the success or popularity of someone or something; to advance or prosper at the expense of someone or something else. The fledgling social media website has been gaining ground on the leading platforms in recent months. The underdog candidate's grassroots campaign helped her gain ground on her opponent, making this election much closer than anyone would have anticipated.
nothing ventured, nothing gained
You have to take risks in order to achieve anything meaningful. A: "I'm thinking of asking my bosses for a raise, but I'm a little bit nervous." B: "Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained." It was a bit of a shot in the dark taking a job in a different country, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!
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.
gain from something
to benefit from something. I hope you gain from this experience. What do you think I will gain from this?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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]
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."
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.
Ill-gotten gains are money or other valuable things that someone gets illegally or in a way that is not morally good. They needed to find a route out of the country for their ill-gotten gains. Many museums are returning their ill-gotten gains.
COMMON If something or someone gains ground, they make progress and become more important or more powerful. His ideas on nutrition have been gaining ground in recent years. The pound has gained ground on the foreign exchanges this morning. At the time, the Fascists were still steadily gaining ground in the East End. Compare with lose ground.
no pain, no gain
People say no pain, no gain to mean that you cannot achieve anything without effort or suffering. I exercise every day. No pain, no gain.
no pain, no gainsuffering is necessary in order to achieve something.
There has been a proverbial association between pain and gain since at least the late 16th century, and ‘No Paines, no Gaines’ was the title of a 1648 poem by Robert Herrick . The modern form, which dates from the 1980s, probably originated as a slogan used in fitness classes.
1997 American Spectator As the cliché goes, no pain, no gain. In fact, in our confessional age, you can make quite a lot of gains for very little pain.
1 (of soldiers) move forward in a battle: Our men began to gain ground, forcing the enemy back towards the river.
2 (of an idea, development, etc.) become more popular or successful: Diesel cars seem to be gaining ground because they are cheaper to run.
gain ˈtimedelay something so that you can have more time to make a decision, deal with a problem, etc: Instead of answering the question, he asked for a glass of water to gain time.
get, have, gain, etc. the ˌupper ˈhand (over somebody)get, etc. power or control over somebody, especially in a fight, competition, etc: Our team gained the upper hand in the second half of the match. ♢ The police claim they have the upper hand in their fight against the drug dealers.
nothing ˌventured, nothing ˈgained(saying) used to say that you have to take risks if you want to achieve things and be successful: Go on, apply for the job. You know what they say — nothing ventured, nothing gained.
To increase with respect to something: The athlete gained in strength, but lost in agility.
To get closer to something or someone, often in pursuit; close a gap: Run faster—the stampeding cattle are gaining on us!
To progress, advance, or increase: Stock prices gained ground yesterday.
1. To run too fast. Used of a timepiece.
2. To delay or prolong something until a desired event occurs.