One-upmanship

One-upmanship is the art or practice of successively outdoing a competitor.

The term originated as the title of a book by Stephen Potter, published in 1952[1] as a follow-up to The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship (or the Art of Winning Games without Actually Cheating) (1947)[2] and Lifemanship titles in his series of tongue-in-cheek self-help books, and film [3] and television derivatives, that teach various "ploys" to achieve this.

In that context, the term refers to a satiric course in the gambits required for the systematic and conscious practice of "creative intimidation", making one's associates feel inferior and thereby gaining the status of being "one-up" on them.

This satire of self-help style guides manipulates traditional stuffy British conventions for the gamester, all life being a game, who understands that if you're not one-up, you're one-down. Potter's unprincipled principles apply to almost any possession, experience or situation, deriving maximum undeserved rewards and discomforting the opposition.

Viewed seriously, it is a phenomenon of group dynamics that can have significant effects in the management field: for instance, manifesting in office politics. The term has been extended to a generic, often punning, extension upmanship used for any assertion of superiority: for instance, Photon upmanship, Native Upmanship, and so on.

See also

References

  1. ^ In full, One-Upmanship: Being Some Account of the Activities and Teachings of the Lifemanship Correspondence College of One-Upness and Games Lifemastery.
  2. ^ "The Timelessness of Stephen Potter's Gamesmanship" by Burling Lowrey. Virginia Quarterly Review Autumn 1993 pp. 718–726
  3. ^ The film School For Scoundrels was a portrayal of how to use Potter's ideas

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • one-upmanship — n. The attitude or practice of trying to keep one step ahead of a friend or competitor; vigorous competitiveness. [WordNet 1.5 +PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • one-upmanship — [wun up′mən ship΄] n. [ ONE UP + (GAMES)MANSHIP] Informal the practice of, or skill in, seizing an advantage or gaining superiority over others …   English World dictionary

  • one-upmanship — ► NOUN informal ▪ the technique of gaining an advantage or feeling of superiority over someone else …   English terms dictionary

  • one-upmanship — {v.}, {informal} Always keeping ahead of others; trying to keep an advantage. * /No matter what I do, I find that Jim has already done it better. He s an expert at one upmanship./ * /Jack took the news to the principal while we were still talking …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • one-upmanship — {v.}, {informal} Always keeping ahead of others; trying to keep an advantage. * /No matter what I do, I find that Jim has already done it better. He s an expert at one upmanship./ * /Jack took the news to the principal while we were still talking …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • one-upmanship — v informal Always keeping ahead of others; trying to keep an advantage. No matter what I do, I find that Jim has already done it better. He s an expert at one upmanship. Jack took the news to the principal while we were still talking about it. He …   Словарь американских идиом

  • one-upmanship — [[t]wʌ̱n ʌ̱pmənʃɪp[/t]] N UNCOUNT: oft supp N (disapproval) If you refer to someone s behaviour as one upmanship, you disapprove of them trying to make other people feel inferior in order to make themselves appear more important. It was the… …   English dictionary

  • one-upmanship — /wun up meuhn ship /, n. the art or practice of achieving, demonstrating, or assuming superiority in one s rivalry with a friend or opponent by obtaining privilege, status, status symbols, etc.: the one upmanship of getting into the president s… …   Universalium

  • one-upmanship — noun the practice of keeping one jump ahead of a friend or competitor (Freq. 1) • Hypernyms: ↑practice, ↑pattern * * * one upmanship [one upmanship] [wʌnˈʌpmənʃɪp] [wʌnˈʌpmənʃɪp] …   Useful english dictionary

  • one-upmanship — noun a) The art or practice of successively outdoing a competitor. They are bent on one upmanship. I think its hopeless to try to stop them. b) A succession of instances of outdoing a competitor. He always engaged in one upmanship …   Wiktionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.