Be Streets Ahead: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 23, 2023

The idiom "be streets ahead" conveys the notion of being far superior or much more advanced than others. This phrase is typically used when comparing two or more things, people, or situations, where one is clearly outperforming the others. You might employ it in contexts where someone leads the race, outshines others in a specific skill or field, or makes remarkable progress in a certain area.

In short:

  • "Be streets ahead" is about being significantly better or more advanced.
  • It is more commonly heard in Australia and the UK.

What Does "Be Streets Ahead" Mean?

"Be streets ahead" is an idiom indicating significant superiority or advancement compared to others. If you're "streets ahead," you're doing notably better in a particular area, progressing much faster, or demonstrating a considerably higher level of skill or knowledge.

Let's delve into its central meanings and uses:

  • "Be streets ahead" signifies a significant lead or superiority over others.
    • For example, if a tech company's new device is far more innovative and high-performing than its competitors, the company is said to be "streets ahead" in technology.
  • The phrase often reflects advancement or excellence in various contexts, such as skills, knowledge, development, performance, and more.
  • The phrase "be streets ahead" could be employed when discussing comparisons.
    • For instance, if one student is performing far better academically than others, they can be said to be "streets ahead" of their classmates.
  • Similar expressions to "be streets ahead" include "be miles ahead," "be far ahead," "be way ahead," and "be leaps and bounds ahead."

Where Does "Be Streets Ahead" Come From?

The term "be streets ahead" is believed to have originated in Britain. Its literal meaning comes from the idea of being many streets ahead in a race, hence significantly ahead of the others. With time, its usage evolved to denote any superiority or advancement, not only in physical distance but also in areas like skills, innovation, progress, etc.

Historical Example

"The Australians have the courage to face up to their problems, and it is time that we had the courage to do likewise, otherwise Australia will be streets ahead of us and we shall be a weak agricultural appendage of a great industrial state."

- Parliamentary Debates, New Zealand. Parliament, 1953

10 Examples of "Be Streets Ahead" in Sentences

To help you understand when and how to use this idiom, here are a few examples in different contexts:

  • Their company is a cut above the rest and considered to be streets ahead in technological advancements.
  • The way we search for information has changed dramatically with technology, so companies that are streets ahead are embracing these changes.
  • He was in awe of her talent and intelligence, knowing that she was streets ahead of him in every way.
  • With their innovative approach to sustainability, they are streets ahead of other companies in the same sector.
  • Her ability to roll with the punches and adapt quickly to change has kept her streets ahead in her career.
  • All in all, Mary was streets ahead of her classmates, having aced all her exams and projects.
  • Despite many competitors, their product quality is streets ahead, securing their place in the market.
  • She dreamed of being streets ahead of her peers, but it seemed like a pie in the sky for someone like her.
  • She learned the hard way that being streets ahead of everyone else also meant being lonely and misunderstood.
  • Despite the challenges, they've managed to stay streets ahead in the race to develop a new vaccine.

Examples of "Be Streets Ahead" in Pop Culture

The term "be streets ahead" is also seen in popular culture, often used to denote superiority or advancement.

Let's examine a few examples:

  • "Streets Ahead: An Illustrated Guide to the Secret Names of Dunstable" is a book by Richard Walden.
  • A review of the movie "The Last Unicorn" (1982) uses the phrase: "Beagle to adapt his own novel and the result is a children's film of beautifully melancholic power that is streets ahead of any near competition ..."
  • It was also mentioned in a movie review of "Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)": "Much like other DC movies, they just can't seem to keep pace with Marvel, who are still streets ahead in this movie genre."
  • "Streets Ahead (If You Have to Ask, You're Streets Behind)" is a song by Settle Your Scores.
  • The song "Streets Ahead" by The Tragically Hip includes the line: "You were streets ahead, I couldn't sleep a wink / Staring in the dark, by the light of your skin / At myself sitting, on a suitcase. Or as the sleeping youth..."

Other/Different Ways to Say "Be Streets Ahead"

There are numerous other phrases that you can use to express the same idea as "be streets ahead."

Here are some alternatives:

  • Be miles ahead
  • Be far ahead
  • Be way ahead
  • Be in the lead
  • Have the edge over
  • Be leaps and bounds ahead
  • Be ahead of the pack
  • Be out in front
  • Be on the cutting edge
  • Be ahead of the curve

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Be Streets Ahead":

  • What does "be streets ahead" mean?

"Be streets ahead" is an idiom that means to be significantly better or further advanced than someone or something else.

  • How can I use "be streets ahead" in a sentence?

You can use "be streets ahead" to indicate superiority or advancement. For example, "He was streets ahead of his competitors in terms of innovation, quality, and customer service, to name a few."

  • Where does the idiom "be streets ahead" come from?

The phrase "be streets ahead" is thought to originate from horse racing, where a horse that was far in the lead was said to be "streets ahead". It's primarily used in British English.

  • Is "be streets ahead" used in American English?

While it's not as common as in British English, the phrase "be streets ahead" can be understood and used by American English speakers. However, similar idioms like "miles ahead" or "way ahead" might be more common in American English.

  • Is "be streets ahead" used in formal or informal settings?

The phrase "be streets ahead" can be used in both formal and informal settings. It's common in professional contexts when discussing advancement or superiority, as well as in casual conversations.

  • Can "be streets ahead" be used to compare non-competitive things?

Yes, the phrase can be used to compare anything, not just competitive things. For example, one could say a particular model of a car is streets ahead of another in terms of fuel efficiency.

  • Is "be streets ahead" a compliment?

Yes, saying someone or something is "streets ahead" is usually a compliment, as it means they are significantly superior or advanced compared to others.

  • What is the opposite of "be streets ahead"?

The opposite of "be streets ahead" could be phrases like "be behind", "be at a disadvantage", or "lag behind".

  • Can "be streets ahead" refer to personal development?

Yes, it can be used to refer to personal development. For example, "Through regular practice and determination, he is streets ahead in his personal growth."

  • Is "be streets ahead" a common phrase?

While it's not an uncommon phrase, its usage can vary depending on geographic location. It is more commonly used in British English than American English.

Final Thoughts About "Be Streets Ahead"

"Be streets ahead" is a valuable idiom used to denote someone or something's superiority or advancement over others. This phrase can be utilized in various situations and effectively emphasizes the gap between two things or people, usually in terms of progress or quality. Whether in business, academics, or personal growth, being "streets ahead" is a testament to hard work, innovation, and, often, success.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Be streets ahead" is a phrase that denotes significant superiority or advancement.
  • This phrase applies flexibly to a range of formal and informal situations.
  • Its versatility allows it to address anything from business matters to personal growth.
  • The phrase is more commonly used in Australian and British English, but it can be understood by speakers of American English, albeit less frequently used.

So whether you're praising a company's innovative prowess, acknowledging an individual's personal development, or highlighting a product's superior features, remember that the phrase "be streets ahead" can add a dynamic element to your expressions.

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