upper hand


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*upper hand (on someone)

Fig. a position superior to someone; the advantage of someone. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) John is always trying to get the upper hand on someone. He never ends up having the upper hand, though.
See also: hand, upper

upper hand

Also, whip hand. A dominating or controlling position, as in Once you let Jeff get the upper hand there'll be no stopping him, or When it comes to checkers, my son-in-law generally has the whip hand. The first term alludes to an ancient game in which each player in turn grasps a stick with one hand, beginning from the bottom, and the last who can put his hand at the top wins. Its figurative use dates from the late 1400s. The variant alludes to the driver who holds the whip in a horse-drawn vehicle; it was being used figuratively by the late 1600s.
See also: hand, upper
References in periodicals archive ?
Holding was the feature of the fourth and Jones was not doing enough by way of throwing leather to convince he had the upper hand.
TOKYO - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has the upper hand over rival parties in campaigning in the two constituencies where House of Representatives by-elections will be held on Oct.
Their small scale, low efficiency and lack of experience make them inferior competitors to international OEMs, which have the upper hand in product development, branding, cost control as well as sales and distribution management.
It was an excellent way for Rangers to end a win drought, with the home side having to dig deep to gain the upper hand.
They would enable the epidemic of immunization messages to take place "behind enemy lines," Shir says, and thereby gain the upper hand.
From then on, the British lieutenant FitzGibbon and the Yankee captain Chapin carry on a cat-and-mouse game of deception and guerilla tactics to try to get the upper hand.
Alexia Kelley, who served a short stint as religious outreach director for the party this year, said Democrats can gain the upper hand in the values debate because progressives "have the moral high ground.
6% stake in EADS and the country apparently fears that a power struggle could give a French manager the upper hand.
Henman lost the opening set, but looked to have regained the upper hand when he took the second to force a decider.
The tactic would seem to indicate that mills feel they have regained the upper hand in buy-sell negotiations, though their grip could be tenuous and short-lived.
All this activity has happened despite the wishes of Joyce's grandson, who regained control over the book's copyright a decade ago and has tried to stifle adaptations he considers "inappropriate" For the moment, James Joyce's fans have the upper hand over his heir.
Judging from his retrospective exhibition--the first of a new series at the Centro Pecci, now directed by Daniel Soutif--the lure of the scatological has gained the upper hand in Wim Delvoye's recent work.
Such a team could ultimately create a rivalry as fierce as that for commercial jetliners, a battle in which Airbus has gained the upper hand.
Smaller companies have the upper hand in delivering more on-trend colors to consumers with higher speed-to-market production schedules.
But this is a classic lop-sided tug of war, in which moneyed interests hold the upper hand in the marketplace and in the arenas of public debate.
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