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[wuhn-uhp-muh n-ship] /ˈwʌnˈʌp mənˌʃɪp/
the art or practice of achieving, demonstrating, or assuming superiority in one's rivalry with a friend or opponent by obtaining privilege, status, status symbols, etc.:
the one-upmanship of getting into the president's car pool.
Also, one-upsmanship
[wuhn-uhps-muh n-ship] /ˈwʌnˈʌps mənˌʃɪp/ (Show IPA)
Also called upmanship, upsmanship.
Origin of one-upmanship
1950-55; one up + -manship Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for one-upmanship
  • But host and parasite have evolved together, with all the one-upmanship of any arms race.
  • Whatever their origin, they all serve a purpose that goes beyond boasting or one-upmanship, experts say.
  • But technological one-upmanship may confer a psychological advantage.
  • The exchequer should tax earned income heavily enough to deter one-upmanship, they say.
  • Mercifully, the candidate roster was exhausted before the one-upmanship moved to boiling and flaying.
  • The writing process was a constant state of one-upmanship.
  • These devices are also revealing of the dynamics of their secret game of one-upmanship.
  • Independent experts, however, caution against such nationalistic one-upmanship.
  • The one-upmanship continues until markets are closed or are so severely restricted that they're effectively closed.
  • Supersized yachts are the latest examples of one-upmanship among billionaires.
British Dictionary definitions for one-upmanship


(informal) the art or practice of achieving or maintaining an advantage over others, often by slightly unscrupulous means
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-upmanship



The technique and practice of having the advantage over one's opponent, esp keeping a psychological advantage by low cunning and subtle brilliance: a wide-open but good-humored game of political one-upmanship

[1952+; coined by the late British humorist Stephen Potter as a book title]

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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