upper hand

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the upper hand

A position of advantage, power, and/or control (over someone, something, or some situation). Typically used after the verbs "have," "gain," or "get." The home team got the upper hand when their opponents' star quarterback went out with an injury. We've been doing everything we can for your father, but I'm afraid the cancer is gaining the upper hand. The two companies were neck and neck for years, but Mayers International seems to have the upper hand in the markets lately.
See also: hand, upper

*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 ?
Let us not forget that Hastilow claimed Enoch Powell's view on immigration was right - Powell who quoted a constituent who feared "In this country in 15 or 20 years time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man"; Powell who used the provocative and emotive imagery of "rivers of blood".
But with this domineering pose, sultry Victoria is bound to have the whip hand.
The 22-year-old dazzled all night against Rovers, giving tonight's visitors to Prenton Park the whip hand in the tie.
EXHALL TIGERS under-10s tamed Nuneaton Bears in the Nuneaton & Bedworth Mini Football League with Scott MacDonald holding the whip hand with a five-goal performance.
As a result, tomato growers in Puglia have suddenly found themselves holding the whip hand in a sellers' market.
They have met in a numerous pivotal League and Championship games since 2011 and Galway currently hold the whip hand after a runaway victory in last year's Leinster quarter-final replay in Tullamore, although Dublin scored a comprehensive win in last month's Walsh Cup clash.
WHIP HAND 3 Washington takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride of human failings and redemption
Tranmere Reserves 3 Macclesfield Reserves 0 TRANMERE Reserves held the whip hand throughout a comfortable win over Macclesfield.
WHIP HAND Christophe Soumillon riding Cirrus Des Aigles at Ascot
The second set was a closer affair, the players trading breaks midway through it, but Murray always held the whip hand and closed the match out on his own serve at the fourth time of asking.
Brighton, however, held the whip hand in the dying minutes when they went close to adding to their lead.
The bulk of their finances coming from central government, in our case the National Assembly, but the buck doesn't stop there as Westminster has the whip hand where finance is concerned and decides what is available for local government in England and Wales.
Sellers are regaining the whip hand again in a housing market set for unusually high levels of trading right up to Christmas, say several new analyses of the market.
Towards the end of the half, the home side took the whip hand and Jalal had to be alert again to stop first Sugden and then Killeen.
The fact buyers have another route to raw milk supplies will not guarantee a whip hand in the long term.