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To make a point of outdoing, outperforming, outclassing, etc., someone. I hate telling stories around Jack because he always tries to one-up you with some fabulous anecdote of his own.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
*one up (on someone)
ahead of someone; having an advantage over someone. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) Tom is one up on Sally because he got a job and she didn't. Yes, it sounds like Tom is one up.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Having an advantage or lead over someone, as in Sara is one up on Jane because she passed algebra in summer school. This expression comes from sports, where it means to be one point ahead of one's opponents. It was transferred to more general use about 1920.
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.