run circles/rings around, to(redirected from to run circles/rings around)
run circles around someoneand run rings around someone
Fig. to outrun or outdo someone. (Alludes to someone who runs fast enough to run in circles around a competitor and still win the race.) John is a much better racer than Mary. He can run circles around her. Mary can run rings around Sally.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
run rings around
Also, run circles around. Be markedly superior to, as in Ethan runs rings around David in chess, or In spelling, Karen runs circles around her classmates. The first term, dating from the late 1800s, alludes to a horse running around a riding ring much faster than the others.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
run circles/rings around, to
To defeat decisively in a contest; to outdo. The implication here is that a runner moving in circles can still beat another running in a straight line. The term began to appear in print in the 1890s. “He could run rings round us in everything,” wrote G. Parker in the Westminster Gazette (1894).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer