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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.
See also: march, steal

steal (one's) heart

To captivate one; to instill in one a deep affection or love. You stole my heart the moment I met you. The young actress has stolen the nation's heart.
See also: heart, steal

steal (one's) thunder

1. To garner the attention or praise that one had been expecting or receiving for some accomplishment, announcement, etc. My brother is the star athlete of our high school, so no matter what I succeed in, he's constantly stealing my thunder. We were about to announce our engagement when Jeff and Tina stole our thunder and revealed that they were going to have a baby.
2. To steal one's idea, plan, or intellectual property and use it for profit or some benefit. 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.
See also: steal, thunder

lock the barn door after the horse has bolted

To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. My father quit smoking after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, but I'm afraid he's locking the barn door after the horse has bolted.
See also: after, barn, bolt, door, horse, lock

steal away

1. To leave or depart from some location or situation very quickly, quietly, and furtively. I started feeling a bit despondent at the party, so I stole away while no one was looking. The two stole away to share a kiss.
2. To steal someone or something (from someone); to rob someone of someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "steal" and "away." The two thieves stole the statue away by loading it into a helicopter and making off into the night sky. The gang has been stealing children away for years and brainwashing them as young soldiers.
3. To take someone or something away from someone, especially in a way that seems unfair or malicious. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "steal" and "away." The team had victory within their grasp, but with a last-minute field goal, the reigning champions stole it away from them. I don't know why you're so convinced that I'm trying to steal your boyfriend away, but it simply is not true!
See also: away, steal

steal away (from someone or something)

to sneak away from someone or something. The thief stole away from the policeman. We stole away from the boring lecture.
See also: away, steal

stolen fruit is sweetest

 and 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.
See also: fruit, stolen, sweet

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.
See also: after, barn, bolt, door, horse, lock

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

steal away

To leave quietly without being noticed: During the party, the lovers stole away to the garden.
See also: away, steal
References in periodicals archive ?
A wing mirror was stolen from a Subaru Forrester on December 18 on Woodhead Road.
Perhaps the most telling statistic in all of base-stealing history is that major league teams from 1906 through 1909 averaged more than 10 stolen bases for every home run hit, with a peak of 11.
Alleged to have stolen cash from Asda, in Bath |Lane, Stockton (REF: S-1041-2014)
Last year, 65 Accords were reported stolen in Springfield.
Groceries stolen from >ASDA, Lintonville Terrace, Ashington on Thursday, January 16, 2014
A laptop, stolen in July from a physics professor's home, contained the names and Social Security numbers of 3,020 students.
After the VA hires a credit monitoring company, the Department will send a detailed letter to people whose sensitive personal information may have been included in the stolen data.
On June 25, Owen was stopped for speeding on Soledad Canyon Road and taken into custody on suspicion of possessing counterfeit blank checks and drivers licenses, personal identifying information and stolen property.
We also take it seriously when we receive calls about potential stolen material," he adds.
Far from car thieves going for flashy motors, 13 and 14--year-old cars run the greatest risk of being stolen, with a theft rate of 31 per 1000.
Meanwhile, the National Sorry Day Committee--which had been set up to organize the 1998 Sorry Day, and of which I am Secretary--was still at work, enlisting the Australian community in initiatives to help stolen generations people under the banner, 'Journey of Healing'.
The thieves then used the stolen credit cards, sometimes within hours of the theft, to obtain cash at casinos.
In fact, the top four most-stolen vehicles were Toyota Camrys, and rounding out the top five was the 1994 Honda Accord EX, according to the annual study of most-frequently stolen vehicles conducted by CCC Information Services Inc.
The resident in room 102 reported that someone had stolen six postage stamps from her room while she was at breakfast.
When a Computrace-equipped computer is reported stolen, the embedded Computrace agent sends a silent signal to Absolute's Monitoring Center providing critical location information.