Is there a hairbreadth of difference between saying "he won the race (or the battle, the fight, etc.) and "he won out the race (...)" either in a literal or figurative sense, or does it all mean just about the same?


The company won the race to be first in the "smart watch" category.source

Bell only won out the race for mass installation and patent rights.>sub>source

Luckily, my immune system won out the fight against germs.source>/sub>

Schumacher has already won the fight against pneumonia.source>/sub>


Transitive win out is highly non-standard...

(Clicking on the chart will show I did ask for he won out the as well - it's just too rare to graph.)

In "standard" usage, to win out is normally only used intransitively, to emphasize that a victory was hard-won (taking much time and/or effort)...

It was a lengthy struggle, but he won out in the end (as occurs hundreds of times in Google Books)

Note that although OP's cited usage is "unusual", it does occur at least a few dozen times on the Internet at large. But I doubt the equivalent won through would ever be used transitively.

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  • Thank you for contributing again. Just curious, does "win up" have any currency in spoken English (he won up the race) in analogy with other similar colloquial verbal constructions like wait up, give up (Give up the ball...give it up!), print up, check up, etc.? – Elian Mar 1 '14 at 17:46
  • @Nourished: No - so far as I know, to win up has no currency., and never has had. Give up connotes conceding (up = finished), and give it up approval (hands raised while clapping). This answer implies check up on someone is BrE (but maybe it's also AmE) - I imagine it relates to look up [details]. I can't explain why people print up/off reports. Idiomatic usage doesn't always have any clear justification. – FumbleFingers Mar 1 '14 at 18:57
  • I thought there was another sense to "give something up". I mean -- when you ask a dog to give up the ball, isn't it just about the same as saying "give me the ball"? cubits.org/Dogs/thread/view/21359 – Elian Mar 1 '14 at 19:38
  • @Nourished: You're mixing up two different forms of expression. You wouldn't, for example, have asked When you ask a dog to give the ball, isn't it just about the same as saying "give me up the ball"? (or give up me the ball). But in such contexts, where up can validly be included, it more explicitly implies conceding (reluctantly), as I said. – FumbleFingers Mar 1 '14 at 19:44
  • Sure. However, it sounds quite logical that if you directly ask a dog to give up a ball, you mean by that to give the ball to you. In the same logic, if I bang on someone's door hollering to open up or to open up the g..... door, such a specification as "to me" likewise sounds superfluous. – Elian Mar 1 '14 at 20:32

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