steal a march on


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steal a march on (someone or something)

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 on me when he managed to get tickets to Courtney's favorite band.
See also: march, on, steal

steal a march on someone or something

to precede someone who has the same goal; to accomplish something before someone else does. Jeff stole a march on all of us when he had his story published. Our competitor stole a march on us and got the big contract.
See also: march, on, steal

steal a march on

Gain an advantage over unexpectedly or secretly, as in Macy's stole a march on their rival department store with their Thanksgiving Day parade. This metaphoric expression comes from medieval warfare, where a march was the distance an army could travel in a day. By quietly marching at night, a force could surprise and overtake the enemy at daybreak. Its figurative use dates from the second half of the 1700s.
See also: march, on, steal

steal a march on

gain an advantage over someone, typically by acting before they do.
See also: march, on, steal

steal a march on someone, to

To gain an unexpected or surreptitious advantage. This expression comes from medieval warfare, when a march meant the distance that an army could travel in a given time, usually a day. By marching at night, a force could surprise the enemy at daybreak or at least could come much closer than was anticipated, thereby gaining an advantage. By the eighteenth century the term had been transferred to peacetime enterprises. “She yesterday wanted to steal a march on poor Liddy,” wrote Tobias Smollett (Humphry Clinker, 1771).
See also: march, on, steal