the better of (someone or something)

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the better of (someone or something)

Superiority, mastery, or an advantage over someone or something; control over someone or something. I know we could have beaten them in last week's game, but they just got the better of us from the get-go. I knew I shouldn't be meddling in other people's business, but my curiosity got the better of me.
See also: better, of

*better of someone

 and *the best of someone
triumph over someone. (*Typically: get ~; have ~.) Bill got the best of John in the boxing match. I tried to get the better of Tom in the golf match, but he won anyway.
See also: better, of
References in classic literature ?
The guests said to themselves, whether they were conscious of it or no, 'Here is a man who really has an acquaintance with us as we are, who is admitted to some of us every day with our wigs and paint off, who hears the wanderings of our minds, and sees the undisguised expression of our faces, when both are past our control; we may as well make an approach to reality with him, for the man has got the better of us and is too strong for us.' Therefore, Physician's guests came out so surprisingly at his round table that they were almost natural.
Gomez added: "They probably had the better of us in the first half and we knew that.
Back then, as 100,000 supporters travelled to London, a sign by the road read: "Will the last person out turn off the lights!" Sadly yesterday Leeds got the better of us. So after 35 years of hurt, rugby's (still not) coming home.
Or are the pressures so great that it would be better of us to wish them more success in another, similar private legal profession, where the money in the bank accounts are transferred only if they do their job right, wonders Sotirovska.
Let's not let extremists get the better of us. With a full London transport system again and a great police force in operation, let's celebrate the fact that good will always overcome evil.
Sometimes we are not in control of these emotions and they get the better of us. So what can we do?
If they do, they will almost immediately begin to think better of us. They will think, Hey!
The real problem is not our differences of religion and culture, but our human nature--times when egotism, arrogance and pride get the better of us and we flare up.
A win would have moved them to third place but they could only draw and Speirs said: "Nerves got the better of us because of what was at stake.
They've had the better of us a few times this year and we need to fire a shot across their bows and show we can beat them.
But we are determined he will not get the better of us in the play-offs."
"There were times where we showed a bit of fight but overall the other team got the better of us.