I am looking for synonyms as single words having the meaning of 'being one step ahead of others'.

  • 2
    lead·ing adj. 1. Having a position in the lead; foremost: the leading candidate. thefreedictionary.com/leading – Kris Jun 7 '14 at 7:20
  • The "game" of "being one step ahead of others" is called one-upmanship. You buy a Cadillac, so I buy a Mercedes; you buy a Bentley, so I buy a Mazzeratti (the one priced at a million dollars!), etc. – rhetorician Jun 7 '14 at 17:35
  • It's not clear what meaning you are looking for. Literally one step ahead, as in walking/running? One step ahead in a process? Or simply being more advanced in a quantitative way? – congusbongus May 1 '15 at 1:22

Pacesetter is a common term for someone who is in the position you describe.

pace·set·ter noun \ˈpās-ˌse-tər\ : a person who runs ahead of the other runners in a race in order to set a pace

as in, a company that has been a pacesetter in its field for offering health care benefits to employees



"Innovator" (or "innovative"), "pioneering", "scout", "trailblazer", "vanguard", or "visionary", depending upon usage.


One such description is frontrunner — or frontrunning, if you prefer the adjectival form.

  • Per meta.english.stackexchange.com/a/364 for the use–mention distinction, please use an italic face not a bold one. It makes the page look too heavy otherwise, and furthermore runs counter to typographic convention both on this site and in scholarly works. – tchrist Jun 9 '14 at 14:39
  • @tchrist sorry but I smiled :) (not in a bad way!) – jj_ Jun 30 '16 at 15:25

You could say be a notch above the others and be superior (to others).

notch above (someone or something) and a notch better (than someone or something): a little higher in quality than someone or something

superior: of high or higher quality; great or greater in amount, number, or degree; better than other people

be one step ahead : to be slightly better prepared or more successful than someone else (usually + of) Source

  • similar, a cut above. – jj_ Jun 30 '16 at 15:26

Advanced suggests the meaning you are looking for:

being at a higher level than others.

I also suggest the useful expression: to be a cut above something or somebody:

to be better than other things or people: he is so smart that he is always a cut above all his friends. Our new luxury apartments are a cut above the rest.


Also consider the phrase early adopter, which means:

A person who begins using a product or service at or around the time it becomes available.

The phrase early adopter sometimes is used to describe people who are ahead of the curve. Ahead of the curve is an idiom for “Changing before competitors” or “in the forefront of change”.

Another related phrase is “on the bleeding edge”, which means using “Something very current or modern, where there may actually be a hazard or risk in using it”.


Greed. People who have to be ahead of others have an inadequate personal self concept and are not content just being themselves--so they greddily seek more attention from others

  • 1
    This is reading way too much into the situation compared to what the question is actually asking.... – Hellion Apr 30 '15 at 21:51

Prescient is what came to my mind immediately.

From oxford:

Having or showing knowledge of events before they take place: a prescient warning

  • 1
    Hi Tapioca, that's a great word! Can you provide a dictionary definition for that to assist the OP and other users of this site? – Erich May 1 '15 at 0:47

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