look to (one's) laurels

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look to (one's) laurels

To actively maintain one's favorable position when faced with competition. ("Laurels" are achievements or honors.) If John wants to maintain his lead in the triathlon, he's going to have to look to his laurels. Sure, the recruiter likes you, but there are many good candidates for this job, so you better look to your laurels.
See also: laurel, look

look to one's laurels

Fig. to take care not to lower or diminish one's reputation or position, especially in relation to that of someone else potentially better. With the arrival of the new member of the football team, James will have to look to his laurels to remain as the highest scorer. The older members of the team will have to look to their laurels when the new players arrive.
See also: laurel, look

look to one's laurels

Protect one's preeminent reputation or position, especially against a threat of being surpassed. For example, Your opponent's done very well in the practice, so you'd better look to your laurels in the actual game . This idiom alludes to laurels as the traditional material for making a victor's crown. [Late 1800s]
See also: laurel, look

look to your laurels

If you say that someone should look to their laurels, you mean that they should continue to work hard to remain successful, especially when someone else is starting to compete with them. Note: In ancient Greece, the laurel or bay tree was associated with the god Apollo. The winning competitors in the Pythian games, which were held in honour of Apollo, were given crowns or wreaths of laurel. With so many promising young tennis players around, the 25-year-old champion must now look to his laurels. The establishment of new technology across Europe will force them to look to their laurels.
See also: laurel, look

look to your laurels

be careful not to lose your superior position to a rival.
See also: laurel, look

look to your ˈlaurels

do something to protect your good position or reputation from competition by others: He thinks he’s the best in the class but there’s a new girl who is very good. He’s going to have to look to his laurels.
See also: laurel, look
References in classic literature ?
Thus they leap over obstacles that would slow up a human being, and upon the level attain a speed that would make a thoroughbred look to his laurels.
Lubos will have to look to his laurels tonight," said Berwick team boss Dave Peet.
Since Wales' top 400m hurdler Rhys Williams burst on the scene last year with a remarkable fourth place in the Commonwealth Games and followed up with a bronze and a silver medal at the European Championships, his older brother James admits he has had to look to his laurels.
As you make your helpful and diligent Polish plumber/ Bulgarian carpenter a cup of tea, just be grateful that the often grudging British worker is having to look to his laurels.
GORDON STRACHAN had better enjoy Celtic's title success, whether it comes tonight or later this month, because he will have to look to his laurels next season.
That absent superstar may well have to look to his laurels as Noland is likely to enter the two-mile novice chase category next season, possibly after a shot at the VCbet Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, in which victory would earn a e25,000 sponsors' bonus.
Aston Villa have warned David Ginola to look to his laurels and keep a wary eye out for Julian Joachim's growing threat to his first-team place.
But the other contenders are closing in on him fast and Gordon will have to look to his laurels if he is to keep his rivals at bay.
Another chap who needs to look to his laurels is that David Elsworth, who goes down in the book as having trained the Ebor winner Saint Alebe but clearly had absolutely nothing to do with it.