See also: oneupmanship



one-up +‎ -manship, probably modelled after gamesmanship.



one-upmanship (plural one-upmanships)

  1. The art or practice of successively outdoing a competitor.
    They are bent on one-upmanship. I think it's hopeless to try to stop them.
    • 1981, Shahram Chubin, editor, Security in the Persian Gulf I: Domestic Political Factors (IISS Special Series; I), Montclair, N.J.: Published for the International Institute for Strategic Studies by Allanheld, Osmun & Co. Publishers, →ISBN, pages 29–30:
      [V]arious emirates wanted their own ‘international’ airport, then an ‘international’ harbour, then cement factories, then container ports, then petro-chemical plants, then skyscraper hotels and, most recently, ‘international’ trade centres. [] The impetus for these projects continues to be ‘one-upmanship’ and inter-emirate competition for commercial pre-eminence and regional prestige. [] Outsiders, anxious to win lucrative contracts, have consistently taken advantage of these features of competitive one-upmanship among the UAE member states.
    • 1991, Cliff McKnight; Andrew Dillon; John Richardson, “How Did We Get Here?”, in Hypertext in Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 6:
      Rather than indulge in historical oneupmanship – who knows, maybe the scratchings around the cave paintings were the first primitive hypertext links? – we will begin our brief overview of the history of hypertext in the same era as the birth of the technology which supports it.
  2. A succession of instances of outdoing a competitor.
    • 1965, Max Gluckman, “Foreword”, in M[axwell] G[ay] Marwick, Sorcery in Its Social Setting: A Study of the Northern Rhodesian Ceŵa, Manchester: Published by the University of Manchester at the University Press, →OCLC, page v:
      I think all readers will be impressed by the manner in which Marwick places his own analysis in relation to previous studies both of sorcery and of conflict in general. His punctiliousness here contrasts sharply with the practice of some anthropologists who, in a contest of one-upmanship, score points either by ignoring earlier work or even by baldly asserting that it was all wrong.
    • 2002, John Patrick Daly, “The Evangelical Vision of the South and Its Future”, in When Slavery was Called Freedom: Evangelicalism, Proslavery, and the Causes of the Civil War (Religion in the South), Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, →ISBN, page 73:
      Even these debates rarely constituted an exchange of ideas; they more resembled a contest of sectional champions, or a game of righteous, intellectual, and regional one-upsmanship.

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