run rings around | run circles around

This page is about the idiom run rings around | run circles around


If you run rings around someone, or run circles around them, you do something much better than they do.

For example

  • The Democrat candidate ran rings around the Republican candidate in their debate on the economy.

  • We watched this dance contest and some kid from Brixton ran circles around a guy from Chelsea.

Origin: Possibly dating from the late 1800s and related to the fact that horses used to run around riding rings, and if one horse ran much faster than the others, it would lap them and hence "run rings around them". "Run circles around" could have been a later variation.

Quick Quiz

After running rings around his competitor for the whole fight, the boxer from Cuba

a. clearly lost the fight on points

b. was disqualified for running too much

c. won the fight easily

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey