have the drop on (someone or something)

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have the drop on (someone or something)

To have an advantage over another person; to catch someone else in a vulnerable position or situation. I think we'll have the drop on the defense if we run this play next. The police received an anonymous tip and had the drop on the would-be robbers when they entered the bank.
See also: drop, have, on

have the drop on

have the advantage over. informal
Have the drop on was originally a mid 19th-century US expression used literally to mean that you have the opportunity to shoot before your opponent can use their weapon.
2000 Clay Shooting He always seems to have the drop on me by one bird no matter how hard I try.
See also: drop, have, on