Idiom:  Beat the pants off

Basketball scoreboard showing the home team beating the visitors 107-76. Caption: Our team beat the pants off our rivals 107-76!


Look at the picture and try to guess the meaning of the idiom 'beat the pants off.'  As you can see, the home team's score is 107 and the visiting team's score is only 76. That is a difference of 31 points—that is quite a big difference or large margin in points.

Beat the pants off:  to easily win against someone by a large margin or score; to surpass or be more successful than another.


This idiom is used in American English—in British English they call pants "trousers." This phrase is often used to describe the results of sports but it can be used to describe anything that is more successful than another thing.

Notice when you conjugate "beat":

-  Present tense:   "beat" (I / we / you plural / they ) or  "beats" (he / she / it)

-  Past tense:  "beat" (I / you / he / she/ it / we / you plural / they)

That's right!  The past tense  of "beat" is also "beat." It is irregular.


—  My son was so embarrassed when his younger sister beat the pants off him in chess.

—  We've trained hard all summer and I'm confident we're going to beat the pants off our rival school this year.

—  When it comes to ticket sales the Harry Potter movies beat the pants off the Twilight series.

—  I love Thanksgiving—it beats the pants off every other holiday. 

—  My roommate Jennifer didn't study at all for the exam but as usual, she beat the pants off  everyone.

—  The last time they played, the Washington Redskins beat the pants off the Dallas Cowboys.

—  I just bet big money that Roger Federer will beat the pants off Rafael Nadal. 

—  We're all working really hard on our proposal so that we can beat the pants off the other firms applying for the 5-year grant.

—  My sister is much better than me at chess but I always beat the pants off her with gamesmanship.


  • knock out
  • blow away
  • mop the floor with someone
  • shut down
  • bring someone/something to their knees
  • have/eat someone for breakfast
  • leave someone in the dust

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