beat sb to the punch
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British pronunciation/bˈiːt ˌɛsbˈiː tə ðə pˈʌntʃ/
American pronunciation/bˈiːt ˌɛsbˈiː tə ðə pˈʌntʃ/
01

to do something before someone else does it

What is the origin of the idiom "beat someone to the punch" and when to use it?

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Its origins date back to boxing in the early 20th century, where a boxer who threw the first punch had a significant advantage over their opponent. The term was then adopted into everyday language to refer to getting ahead of someone in a non-physical sense. It became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, particularly in the United States, and has remained in use ever since.

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