upper hand

upper hand

  1. (idiomatic) Advantage or control.
    • 1855, Washington Irving, "Guests from Gibbet Island":
      There was no refusing him, for he had got the complete upper hand of the community, and the peaceful burghers all stood in awe of him.
    • 2003, Christine Gorman, "[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,193560-1,00.html Playing Chicken With Our Antibiotics]," Time, 14 Feb.:
      And because they live everywhere and reproduce quickly, bacteria have the upper hand.

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