to beat the band

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Jonathon Green suggests that it means to drown out the band, that is, talk or sing louder than the band.[1] See also beat the band.


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to beat the band

  1. (idiomatic) In such a way as to surpass all competition; hence, contextually, very vigorously, at a frantic pace, to a high degree.
    • 1917, Jack London, chapter 7, in Michael, Brother of Jerry:
      Fifty dollars gold 'd buy beer to beat the band—enough to drown me if I fell in head first.
    • 1921, P. G. Wodehouse, chapter 7, in The Little Warrior:
      Last time I saw you, you were a kiddy in short frocks, running around and shouting to beat the band.
    • 1922, Peter B. Kyne, chapter 54, in Cappy Ricks Retires:
      You rile me to beat the band sometimes, Skinner.



  1. ^ Green's Dictionary of Slang [1].