beat (someone) to (something)

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beat (someone) to (something)

1. To do or obtain something before someone else does. I was going to suggest that idea to the boss today, but unfortunately one of my co-workers beat me to it. Tim's older cousins usually beat him to the best parts of the turkey, but this year he got first pick.
2. To reach a destination before someone else does. They beat us to the restaurant, so they're going to get a table. If you run your fastest, no one will be able to beat you to the finish line.
See also: beat

beat someone to something

to get to something before someone else; to claim something before someone else does. (See also beat someone into something.) You beat me to it and took the last cookie. Ken beat John to the door.
See also: beat

beat to

v.
1. To get to a place before someone else: You're fast—I'm sure you can beat all the other runners to the finish line.
2. To finish or achieve before someone else: I beat all the other students to the end of the test.
See also: beat
References in classic literature ?
If we allowed them to get more than half-way, they were certain to beat us to shore; while if we started before they were half-way, they were equally certain to beat us back to the ship.
Say they're goin' to beat us to our knees till we come crawlin' back a-beggin' for our jobs.
Matchup: Clippers coach Alvin Gentry summed up the Clips' rebounding problem against Vancouver on Thursday, saying, ``They just beat us to the ball.