pip to the post

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pip to the post

  1. (idiomatic, sports) to overcome a strong competitor in a sporting event, especially by gaining a small advantage over him at the last decisive moment.
    • 2012, The Independent, by Simon Usborne, 23 June 2012, article title:
      "Pipped to the post: What happens to famous athletes who just miss a place on the podium?" (end of the title) A place on the podium can be missed by tiny fractions – and finish a career. Simon Usborne talks to some famous Olympian losers about the moment their dream ended.
  2. (idiomatic) to overcome a prominent competitor, gaining his position, especially by making a smart sudden move.
    • 1988, New York Magazine, 4 Jan 1988, "A Soap That Stings" Page 14
      What may bar EastEnders from acceptance in the U.S. is not immorality but unintelligibility. PBS may even distribute a glossary of Cockney phrases so that Americans will know what a character means when he or she is "over the moon," "skint," "pipped to the post," or "in the club" (happy, broke, defeated, or pregnant).
    • 2004, When Physics Became King, by Iwan Rhys Morus, page 158
      Both were pipped to the post in 1888 by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, a student of Hermann von Helmholtz (himself one of the towering figures of nineteenth-century German physics) who announced to the world that he had found a way of propagating and detecting these long-sought-for electromagnetic waves.