look to (one's) laurels

look to (one's) laurels

To actively maintain one's favorable position when faced with competition. ("Laurels" are achievements or honors.) If John wants to maintain his lead in the triathlon, he's going to have to look to his laurels. Sure, the recruiter likes you, but there are many good candidates for this job, so you better look to your laurels.
See also: laurel, look

look to one's laurels

Fig. to take care not to lower or diminish one's reputation or position, especially in relation to that of someone else potentially better. With the arrival of the new member of the football team, James will have to look to his laurels to remain as the highest scorer. The older members of the team will have to look to their laurels when the new players arrive.
See also: laurel, look

look to one's laurels

Protect one's preeminent reputation or position, especially against a threat of being surpassed. For example, Your opponent's done very well in the practice, so you'd better look to your laurels in the actual game . This idiom alludes to laurels as the traditional material for making a victor's crown. [Late 1800s]
See also: laurel, look

look to your laurels

If you say that someone should look to their laurels, you mean that they should continue to work hard to remain successful, especially when someone else is starting to compete with them. Note: In ancient Greece, the laurel or bay tree was associated with the god Apollo. The winning competitors in the Pythian games, which were held in honour of Apollo, were given crowns or wreaths of laurel. With so many promising young tennis players around, the 25-year-old champion must now look to his laurels. The establishment of new technology across Europe will force them to look to their laurels.
See also: laurel, look