beat to the punch/draw

beat (one) to the draw

To do, find, or accomplish something quicker than one is able. An allusion to drawing one's weapon in a duel. I had a perfect chance to score a goal, but their defender beat me to the draw and stole the ball away. Tom was just about to answer the teacher's question when Sally beat him to the draw.
See also: beat, draw, to

beat (one) to the punch

To do or obtain something before someone else does. The phrase is thought to have originated from boxing. Primarily heard in US. I was going to suggest that idea to the boss today, but unfortunately one of my co-workers beat me to the punch.
See also: beat, punch, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

beat to the punch/draw

Move more quickly than someone to accomplish something: for example, “We headed straight for the buffet, but others beat us to the punch and got most of the lobster salad.” Both versions of this cliché date from the mid-1800s and imply an aggressive move, the first alluding to fisticuffs and the second to drawing a pistol.
See also: beat, draw, punch, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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