get the drop on
get the drop on (someone or something)
To acquire an advantage over another person or entity; to catch someone or something in a vulnerable position or situation. The phrase refers to drawing a gun on someone first (thus causing them to "drop" their own gun). I think we'll get the drop on the defense if we run this play next. The police received an anonymous tip and got the drop on the would-be robbers when they entered the bank.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
get the drop on someone
1. Sl. [for person A] to manage to get a gun aimed at person B before person B can aim back at person A. (The gun is then "dropped" by person B.) Fred got the drop on Wilbur in a flash. Wilbur was too stoned to get the drop on Fred.
2. Sl. to succeed in getting an advantage over someone. I guess I got the drop on you because I was early. I got the drop on almost every body by sending in my registration by e-mail.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
get the drop on
Also, get or have the jump on . Achieve a distinct advantage over someone, especially through early or quick action; get a head start. For example, Their book on electronic communication has the drop on all the others, or We really got the jump on the competition. The first of these slangy expressions dates from the mid-1800s and originally alluded to pointing one's gun at someone before he pointed his at you. It was transferred to more general use by about 1900. The second, which uses jump in the sense of "start," dates from about 1900.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.