edge out: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘edge out’ mean?

The idiom "edge out" means to narrowly defeat, surpass, or outdo someone or something, usually by a small margin or by using one's advantages or skills.

Idiom Explorer

Unveiling Subtle Triumph

The idiom "edge out" is a commonly used phrase in American English. It is typically used in a figurative sense to describe the act of gaining a competitive advantage or outperforming others in a given situation. The origins of this idiom can be traced back to the physical act of edging, which refers to moving slowly or cautiously to gradually gain an advantage.

One possible origin of this idiom comes from the sport of rowing. In rowing competitions, teams often compete to be the first to cross the finish line. The act of "edging out" in rowing refers to one team strategically moving ahead of their competitors by a small margin. This concept of gaining a slight advantage has been metaphorically applied to various other competitive scenarios, giving rise to the idiom "edge out."

Additionally, let's explore how "edge out" is related to other idioms, such as "do someone one better." This idiom is used when someone does something better than someone else. In the context of gaining a competitive advantage, one might "do someone one better" by surpassing their accomplishments or achieving a higher level of success. This can be seen as a way to edge out the competition and establish oneself as the top contender.

The origin of an expression may affect its idiomatic meaning.

Another related idiom is "blow out of the water." This expression is used when someone or something surpasses or exceeds expectations by a considerable margin. When one "edges out" their competitors, they are essentially blowing them out of the water by outperforming and surpassing their achievements. This showcases their ability to achieve success on a greater scale.

Similarly, the idiom "get the better of" is relevant to the concept of "edge out." To "get the better of" someone is to defeat or outperform them. When someone "edges out" their rivals, they are essentially getting the better of them by surpassing their achievements or gaining a competitive advantage. This highlights their ability to rise above their competition and establish themselves as the leader.

Lastly, let's look at the idiom "knock out." This expression is often used in sports or competitive situations to describe the act of defeating or eliminating someone or something from a competition. When someone "edges out" their competitors, they are essentially knocking them out of the running by surpassing them and eliminating them as a threat. This showcases their ability to come out on top and secure their position as the winner.

An example of how these idioms can be used in conjunction with the idiom "edge out" is as follows: Imagine a scenario in which two companies are competing for a large contract. Company A is known for its innovative solutions, but Company B manages to "do them one better" by presenting an even more impressive proposal. Company B's superior proposal blows Company A out of the water, ultimately causing them to "get the better of" their competition and "knock them out" of contention. In this scenario, Company B successfully edges out Company A by surpassing their achievements and gaining the competitive advantage.

The idiom "edge out" is commonly used in American English to describe the act of gaining a competitive advantage or outperforming others. It originated from concepts of gaining a slight advantage or fine-tuning one's approach, such as in rowing or construction. When used in conjunction with idioms like "do someone one better," "blow out of the water," "get the better of," and "knock out," it conveys the idea of achieving success on a greater scale and surpassing one's competition. The usage of these idioms reflects the competitive nature ingrained in American society and the constant pursuit of success.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "edge out" can be used in a sentence:

  • She managed to edge out her competitors and win the race.
  • After a long and intense battle, the company finally edged out its rival and claimed the top spot in the industry.
  • The underdog team edged out the defending champions in a stunning victory.

More "competition" idioms