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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.
steal (one's) heart
To captivate someone; to instill in someone a deep affection or love. The young actress has stolen the nation's heart. I'm married, and I know this is wrong, but you've stolen my heart.
steal (one's) thunder
1. To divert attention or praise away from someone else or their accomplishments and toward oneself. My brother is the star athlete of our high school, so no matter what I succeed in, he's constantly stealing my thunder.
2. To steal someone's idea, plan, or patent and use it for one's own advantage. We had the idea for "digital paper" years ago, but I see they've stolen our thunder and have their own version of it on the market.
stolen fruit is sweetestand stolen pleasures are sweetest
Prov. People often enjoy illicit things just because they are illicit. To judge from the number of his extramarital affairs, John must believe that stolen pleasures are sweetest.
lock the barn door after the horse has bolted
Also, lock the stable door after the horse is stolen. Take precautions after damage has occurred. For example, After the burglary they installed an alarm system, but it's locking the barn door, or Deciding to negotiate now after they've been fired-that's a matter of locking the stable door after the horse is stolen . These expressions of action that is useless because it comes too late have long been proverbs in many languages and first appeared in English in the mid-1300s.
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.