run rings around

to show more skill or ability than someone else


run rings around = jdn. in den Sack stecken, seine Grenzen aufzeigen, regelrecht vorführen, (mühelos) in den Schatten stellen, (locker) in die Tasche stecken [ugs.] --- GOOGLE INDEX run rings around: approximately 138,000 hits



"The simplest computer can RUN RINGS AROUND the brightest person when it comes to wading through complicated mathematical equations. At the same time, the most powerful computers have, in the past, struggled with things that people find trivial, such as recognising faces, decoding speech and identifying objects in images."

The Economist

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run rings around

-to show much more skill or ability than someone or something else
(Cambridge Dictionary)


According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "to run rings around" is an 18th century phrase that relates to the fact that horses used to run around riding rings. If one horse ran much faster than the others, it would lap them and hence "run rings around them."

Another suggestion for the origin is that it refers to a horse that runs better than its rivals around a circular track (as opposed to a riding ring), thus "lapping" the other horses.

Another theory is that it originated as an English hunting term used by fox-hunters or in so-called hare-coursing. The circling runs made by the hare in its attempts to outrun the chasing greyhounds were called rings. We prefer the horse theory though.

A popular variation of this expression is "to run circles around," which generally alludes to someone who is fast enough to run in circles around a competitor and still win the race (Agile startups emerged out of garages to run circles around their larger rivals, with well financed development efforts and well oiled marketing. Forbes Magazine).


beat, best, excel, get the upper hand on, outdo, out-distance, outstrip, outpace, outrun, outshine, overtake, pass, transcend

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"Although our technology has been able to run rings around our competitors, we need to constantly innovate to stay ahead."

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