beat to the punch


1. do or obtain something before someone else does






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I thought that I had got there first but someone else had beaten me to the punch

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The 'punch' in this case is the goal or the point which you aim to reach. You might think of it in terms of the 'punchline' at the end of a joke. When you 'beat someone to the punch', you reach a point or achieve a goal that they were also aiming towards. This might happen in the case of two companies competing to sign the same client, or two staff members competing for a promotion: "Well, John beat me to the punch. The Manager confirmed his promotion this morning." You will hear this used in lots of contexts, social or professional.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. I called Mary to tell her the news but she said that Kate had already beaten me to the punch.
  2. I wanted to be the first one in my family to graduate but my younger sister beat me to the punch!

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. We had spent over a year working on a new device, but before we could release it one of our rivals beat us to the punch and put out their version first.
  2. The restaurant owner thought that she had come up with a great idea for a promotion, but the restaurant across the street was already one step ahead. She was sick and tired of them beating her to the punch!

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