steal the march upon (someone or something)

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steal the march upon (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 the march upon its competitors by signing an exclusive export agreement with Europe. John and I were both trying to win Courtney's heart, but he stole the march upon me when he managed to get tickets to see Courtney's favorite band.
See also: march, steal, upon
References in classic literature ?
From afar at the end of Tsar Peter Straat, issued in the frosty air the tinkle of bells of the horse tramcars, appearing and disappearing in the opening between the buildings, like little toy carriages harnessed with toy horses and played with by people that appeared no bigger than children.
Notwithstanding the little iron stove, the ink froze on the swing- table in the cabin, and I found it more convenient to go ashore stumbling over the arctic waste-land and shivering in glazed tramcars in order to write my evening letter to my owners in a gorgeous cafe in the centre of the town.
The tramcar became entangled in their ranks, and moved on painfully, like a caterpillar in a swarm of ants.
Where was the clang of tramcar gongs, the screech of motor horns, the vast murmur of a dense throng?
I suggested that he had better take the next city- ward tramcar.
I helped these ladies into the tramcar and they asked me to call in the afternoon.