pit (someone or something) against (someone or something else)

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pit (someone or something) against (someone or something else)

To set someone or something into direct conflict, opposition, or competition against someone or something else. She liked pitting men against each other to vie for her affection. The country has pitted itself against the rest of the world with its plan to develop nuclear weapons.
See also: pit, something
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pit someone or something against someone or something

to set someone or something in opposition to someone or something. The rules of the tournament pit their team against ours. John pitted Mary against Sally in the tennis match.
See also: pit
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pit against

Set in direct opposition or competition, as in The civil war pitted brother against brother. This idiom alludes to setting fighting cocks or dogs against one another in a pit. [Mid-1700s]
See also: pit
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.

pit against

v.
To set someone or something in competition with or opposition to someone or something else: The civil war pitted brother against brother. The match will pit the two greatest boxers against each other. The grading system pits one student against another and discourages cooperation.
See also: pit
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Our passengers hailed from fifteen states; only a few of them had ever been to sea before; manifestly it would not do to pit them against a full-blown tempest until they had got their sea-legs on.
They played the Koreans later on Friday and a victory would send the Nationals to the semifinals, while a loss would pit them against the Taiwanese in the roundof-eight on Saturday.
Set in the near future, this revolves around a videogame in which players take control of Death Row inmates and pit them against other cons in a battle to the bitter end.
Together their voyages of discovery pit them against chupacabra, cave monkeys, carnivorous plants, skunk apes, yeti, and many more monstrous denizens of terrible jungles in which no man can bear to ask for directions and listen to the answer.
The males of the quail species Coturnix japonica scrap readily, and gamblers in Asia used to pit them against each other like fighting cocks, Ophir says.
Hansen, above, said people should be looking for both sports to succeed rather than attempting to pit them against each other.