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Beat someone to the punch

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  • Beat someone to the punch is an idiom that first came into use in the early 1900s. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the expression beat someone to the punch, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    To beat someone to the punch means to do something, say something or achieve something before someone else is able to do, say or achieve that thing. The connotation is usually one of disappointment, in not having the opportunity to do the thing that the other person has already accomplished. The idiom beat someone to the punch is derived from the sport of boxing, in which the winner has beat his opponent in delivering the knockout punch or the decisive punch.

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    Example

    I decided to sleep on it and talk to Michele first, but Anthony beat me to the punch by messaging that night: “I was just going through my DNA results and saw that we are possible second cousins. (The Huffington Post)

    When she found out she was out of cigarettes, LaRenzo took upon himself to make that 10-minute walk across Ogden to the nearby store to pick up a pack … typical of him, Kotars said, because he was always trying to “beat me to the punch” when it came to doing favors for one another. (The Chicago Tribune)

    Oliva Munn actually beat Michael B. Jordan to the punch with her Roseanne Barr jab, saying one of life’s true heroes is “the person who fired Roseanne.” (The Hollywood Reporter)


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