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one up

having gained an advantage in some way that betokens success, especially over rivals.
leading an opponent by one point or one scoring unit:
The home team was one up on the visitors.
one each; tied at a score of one:
The score was one up in the ninth inning.
Printing. with only one reproduction of a form per sheet or on a given sheet:
We must print this job one up.
Journalism. using one more column of space than of type.
Origin of one up


[wuhn-uhp] /ˈwʌnˈʌp/
verb (used with object), one-upped, one-upping.
to get the better of; succeed in being a point, move, step, etc., ahead of (someone):
They one-upped the competition.
1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for one up
  • When the authors were pushed by a deadline and unable to find the kind of quotation they wanted, they made one up.
  • She held one up to the light, squinted at a filthy smudge-and was astonished to see ghostly faces staring back at her.
  • You'll be tempted to scoop one up and cup it in your hands.
  • He toed through the dinner-plate-size granite chips that littered the floor and scooped one up.
  • She even picked one up and began playing with its tongue.
  • Thanks for bringing that one up, it was entertaining.
  • Since his land did not have a lake he dug one up and built a restaurant on it.
  • Each accomplishment only lifts one up to a new baseline of expectations.
  • She painstakingly works apart the frames, sticky with honey and resin, and lifts one up.
  • Most of them went in the garage, but she once asked me to help her put one up in the house.
British Dictionary definitions for one up


(informal) having or having scored an advantage or lead over someone or something
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for one up


adverb phrase
  1. In a superior position; at an advantage: I always try to be one-up (1919+)
  2. Ahead by one: The Pinks were one-up on the Puces, 109 to 108

To get the advantage over: I wasn't trying to one-up Arthur Schwartz

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with one up

one up

Having an advantage or lead over someone, as in Sara is one up on Jane because she passed algebra in summer school. This expression comes from sports, where it means to be one point ahead of one's opponents. It was transferred to more general use about 1920.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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