Get a leg up


      • gain an advantage
        To acquire or obtain an advantage, usually in a competitive situation, by using one's skills, knowledge, or resources to outdo others and succeed

      • provide assistance
        To give someone a helping hand, support, or boost in order to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle

    Examples of Get a leg up

    • Jane's uncle helped her get a leg up in her career by introducing her to some important people in the industry.

      This idiom means to gain an advantage or a head start in a situation. In this case, Jane's uncle provided her with opportunities and connections that gave her an advantage over others in her field.

    • After years of hard work, Sarah finally got a leg up when she was promoted to a senior position in her company.

      This example shows how someone can rise up the ranks in their career and gain a position of authority or influence.

    • The new startup company got a leg up by securing a major investment from a wealthy investor.

      This example demonstrates how financial support can give a company an advantage over its competitors.

    • The student who aced the exam got a leg up by studying diligently and preparing thoroughly.

      This example illustrates how hard work and preparation can lead to success and give someone an advantage over others.

    • The athlete who won the race got a leg up by training rigorously and developing a strong work ethic.

      This example shows how dedication and discipline can lead to success and give someone an advantage over others in their field.


    The idiom "get a leg up" is primarily used to describe gaining an advantage or receiving assistance in achieving a goal. It can be used in both competitive and non-competitive situations, and can refer to both tangible and intangible forms of support.

    In the first meaning, "get a leg up" is often used in a competitive context, such as in sports, business, or academic pursuits. It suggests using one's skills, knowledge, or resources to outdo others and gain an advantage. This can also refer to gaining a competitive edge through hard work, determination, or strategic thinking. In this sense, the idiom emphasizes the importance of being proactive and taking initiative to succeed.

    In the second meaning, "get a leg up" is used to describe receiving assistance or support in achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle. This can refer to both physical support, such as a literal leg up to reach a high shelf, as well as emotional or moral support from others. This usage highlights the value of teamwork, collaboration, and community in achieving success.

    Origin of "Get a leg up"

    The origin of the idiom "get a leg up" is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the early 19th century. One theory suggests that it comes from horse racing, where jockeys would be given a "leg up" onto their horse to help them mount quickly and gain an advantage in the race. Another theory suggests that it may come from the military, where soldiers would use their comrades' bodies as a "leg up" to scale walls or obstacles during battle.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom has evolved over time to have a figurative meaning beyond its literal usage. It has become a commonly used phrase in everyday language, often used in a playful or informal manner. Its versatility and broad applicability make it a popular idiom for describing various situations where one seeks an advantage or assistance.