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To lose an advantage that one had previously; to yield one's place. His terrible performance in the debate caused him to lose ground to his opponent. I'm worried that we're losing ground in our bid to host the next Olympics.
lose ground (to someone or something)
to fall behind someone or something. I am losing ground to Wendy in the sales contest. We were losing ground to the opposite team in our quest for the trophy.
Fail to hold one's position; fall behind, deteriorate. For example, The Democrats were losing ground in this district, or We thought Grandma was getting better, but now she's quickly losing ground. This expression originally referred to territory lost by a retreating army. [Second half of 1700s]
COMMON If someone or something loses ground, they lose some of the power or advantage that they had previously. There is no doubt that the city has lost ground in the race to establish itself as a financial centre for Europe. The Socialists lost ground in some areas such as the Cote d'Azur and parts of the Languedoc. Compare with gain ground.