to the victor belong the spoils

Idioms & Phrases

to the victor belong the spoils

The winner gets everything, as in He not only won the tournament but ended up with numerous lucrative endorsementsto the victor belong the spoils. This expression alludes to the spoils system of American politics, whereby the winner of an election gives desirable jobs to party supporters. [First half of 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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