upper hand


: mastery, advantage, control
was determined not to let the opposition get the upper hand

Example Sentences

finally gained the upper hand in the argument
Recent Examples on the Web Elder had the upper hand last year in the first one, but St. Edward prevailed 6-0 in Cincinnati this time around. Jonathan X. Simmons, cleveland, 16 Nov. 2022 The legal beagles would seem to have the upper hand since violating laws is something that can have quite harsh teeth. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 Even off the campaign trail over the summer, Fetterman had the upper hand against his Republican challenger, but the pair’s recent debate opened up new questions about how the lingering effects of the stroke on the Democratic nominee. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 7 Nov. 2022 But with Election Day approaching Tuesday, the laws of political gravity appear to have the upper hand over the volatility of a nation on edge. Melanie Mason And Seema Mehta, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Nov. 2022 But with election day approaching Tuesday, the laws of political gravity appear to have the upper hand over the volatility of a nation on edge. Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2022 And Stitt is on the ballot in a year when his party is supposed to have the upper hand. Eric Cortellessa, Time, 1 Nov. 2022 And for months, Russia had the upper hand, able to lob munitions at Ukrainian cities, towns and military targets from positions well beyond the reach of Ukrainian weapons. Andrew E. Kramer, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Oct. 2022 Experts say robust community testing helps experts gauge how widespread COVID is, but without that knowledge—again, in part, due to inequitable access—the virus still has the upper hand. Julia Ries, SELF, 25 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'upper hand.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of upper hand was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near upper hand

Cite this Entry

“Upper hand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upper%20hand. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

upper hand


: the position of being ahead or in control

More from Merriam-Webster on upper hand

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