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run for one's money

(Redirected from give someone a run for their money)




a run for one's money

  1. (idiomatic) A difficult challenge for the person indicated, especially one involving a competitive situation.
    • 1918, Peter B. Kyne, The Valley of the Giants, ch. 24:
      "If your competitor regards you as a menace to his pocketbook, he can give you a nice little run for your money and delay you indefinitely."
    • 2003, Mitch Frank, "Why Primaries Matter," Time, 3 April:
      After beating Bush in New Hampshire, McCain gave him a two month run for his money. Bush had to prove he wasn't just a famous name.
  2. (idiomatic, dated) A reasonable opportunity to succeed, perform acceptably, or escape harm, especially in a difficult situation.
    • 1913, Rudyard Kipling, Letters of Travel, ch. 18:
      He appealed and, by some arrangement or other, got leave to state his case personally to the Court of Revision. Said, I believe, that he did not much trust lawyers, but that if the sahibs would give him a hearing, as man to man, he might have a run for his money.
    • 1917, William MacLeod Raine, The Sheriff's Son, ch. 11:
      "I say he'll get a run for his money. If there's any killing to be done, it will be in fair fight."

Usage notesEdit

  • Usually preceded by the verb to give followed by a noun or pronoun which functions as an indirect object identifying the person(s) receiving the run for his, her, or their money, as in, for example, We gave him a run for his money.