steal a march

steal a march

To gain an unexpected or surreptitious advantage over someone or something, as by accomplishing something before, or better than, someone else. The retail business managed to steal a march on its competitors by signing an exclusive export agreement with Europe. John and I were both trying to win Courtney's heart, but he stole a march when he managed to get tickets to Courtney's favorite band.
See also: march, steal

steal a march

COMMON If you steal a march on someone, you do something before them and so gain an advantage over them. Investors from other countries will be annoyed that their rivals have once again stolen a march on them.. In the 1980s, they stole a march on other Europeans by attracting massive amounts of foreign investment. Note: If an army steals a march on the enemy, it moves secretly and takes the enemy by surprise.
See also: march, steal
References in classic literature ?
They tried in every way to blind and baffle them; to steal a march upon them, or lead them on a wrong scent; but all in vain.
GRAINGER Park took advantage of Gateshead A's inactivity to steal a march at the top of the table - but only just as they were taken to the wire by third-placed Hexham.
Nine-man Chievo missed the chance to steal a march on their relegation rivals when they went down to a 1-0 defeat at Atalanta while Parma's hopes of avoiding relegation were given a real shot in the arm as on-loan Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi scored a last-gasp winner for a 1-0 triumph against Livorno.