I have a word not-in-mind that means to "turn [something] into" in the sense of using the first thing to get something you want more.

Perhaps the best way to present this word query is the game bigger or better. You begin with something small and go to a stranger and offer them that something for something else, bigger or better. You take that new something and go to another stranger and ask to trade that second something for a third something that is even bigger or better.

What have I done to that first something? I want to say 'relayed' or 'parleyed' but those definitions don't make sense. But maybe the ending sound is right?

Example: I have ---- [thing #1] into getting [thing #2].

It is not that I have transformed thing #1 into thing #2, but that I have used it in order to get thing #2.


5 Answers 5


How about leveraged?

From Dictionary.com:

leverage: to use (a quality or advantage) to obtain a desired effect or result

From The Free Dictionary:

leverage: to use so as to obtain an advantage or profit

Your example:

I leveraged [thing #1] to get [thing #2], [thing #2] to get [thing #3], etc.

  • This is totally totally true and fits my query exactly. I feel there is another word which I am thinking of so I won't select this as Accepted yet, but will soon. Thanks.
    – Unrelated
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 18:21
  • @Unrelated My pleasure. Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 18:31
  • You wouldn't believe how annoying many British people find the verb 'to leverage'. I think it's partly because it came into our conciousness as a flaky marketing term in the 80s and 90s, partly because we saw no need for its existence when there was already the verb 'to lever' and also, perhaps, because it was presented as something positive when the financial world used 'highly leveraged' to mean over-borrowed. Does it have a longer and more respectable history in the US?
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 23:10
  • @BoldBen All good to know. The history in the U.S. is similar with regard to the 1980s and 1990s and "highly leveraged" -- at least that's how I remember it. It has its non-financial uses, but it sounds a little like a buzzword -- "He leveraged his strengths in X to do Y." In exploring your last question, I found this: <english.stackexchange.com/questions/92784/…>. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 12:25

As suggested by @Laurel in the comments, trade up would work quite well.

trade up, to exchange a less valuable or desirable item for a more valuable or desirable one.

Barter also comes to mind:

verb (used without object)
1. to trade by exchange of commodities rather than by the use of money.

  • Welcome to ELU.SE. Leafy Greens. Take the tour or have a look at the help center to find out more about good answers if you stick around. :)
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 10:40

fi·na·gle (fə-nā′gəl) v. fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling, fi·na·gles v.tr.
1. To obtain or achieve by cleverness or deceit, especially in persuading someone:

finagle a day off from work; finagled a reservation at the popular restaurant.

- American Heritage Dictionary



get (oneself or something) into or out of a situation using existing resources.

Think of the guy who "traded a pen for a house on ebay".

You start with something small, and gradually shave off a value margin on each deal you make, ultimately ending up with much more than what you started with. In this case, you are "lifting yourself up by your bootstraps".

  • Welcome to ELU.SE. This site strives to provide objective answers. As it stands your answer is purely subjective and could be improved by adding references. Take the tour or have a look at the help center to find out more about good answers.
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 10:45


a. turn an initial stake or winnings from a previous bet into (a greater amount) by gambling

b. informal transform into (something greater or more valuable)

I had thought this was the word but had spelled it parley, which means "to hold a conference with the opposing side to discuss terms."

(That's the problem with looking definitions up online I suppose—in a print dictionary the two words would have been side by side.)


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