gain the upper hand

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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

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.
See also: hand, upper
References in periodicals archive ?
The Quakers, who had already beaten their West Midlands rivals twice this season, never looked like gaining the upper hand this time.
We must do our utmost to prevent hatred from gaining the upper hand.
In fact, since 2000 the number of women traders continues to rise, and they seem to be gaining the upper hand when it comes to making money.
Manchester United and Arsenal have dominated a topsy-turvy battle all season, with United gaining the upper hand in recent weeks - they are just 2-5 to keep the trophy at Old Trafford with Arsenal and Chelsea 5-1 and Liverpool a distant 120-1.
AN unbeaten century from HD Ackerman failed to stop promotion-chasing Worcestershire from gaining the upper hand against Leicestershire at New Road.
ANIL KUMBLE claimed his 400th Test victim yesterday - but could not stop Australia gaining the upper hand in Bangalore.