To gain upon someone

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This email is from an Orissa reader :

What is the meaning of the expression
to gain upon someone in the sentence?

In the 1,500-metre race Jackie was well ahead at the end of the first lap, but after that Rachel gained upon Jackie.

The expression
to gain on / upon someone or something means to begin to catch up or move ahead of someone or something or to approach nearer in pursuit. The expression to gain over someone also means the same.

Look at these examples :

• The Indian hockey team did not play well in the first round. After qualifying for the second round, it gained on other teams and finally won the cup.

• We all considered Ramesh an average student as his performance in the model examinations in the first semester was not good. We don't know how he gained upon those students considered to be bright ones and secured the first rank.

• One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat them at politeness.

Anyhow, the meaning of the expression
to gain dominion over someone is not the same as to gain on someone. When you gain dominion over someone, you achieve total authority over the person. It has a negative connotation.

• Mr Bush tried to gain dominion over Iraq and Afghanistan.

• The president of the Builders' association sought to gain dominion over all the members. But he couldn't succeed in it.

• The owner of the paper mills has been trying to gain dominion over the employees for the past six months.

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