Arms race



competition between countries to achieve superiority in quantity and quality of military arms.
Contemporary Examples

American chain and fast-food restaurants are engaged in an arms race.
40 Burgers That Can Kill You The Daily Beast June 20, 2010

These days even your average billionaire might struggle to keep up with the competition in the Premier League arms race.
How the Yanks Ruined Soccer Alex Massie October 7, 2010

Barry Schwartz argues that families and admissions departments are trapped in a college “arms race” that is, more or less, futile.
So, Who Got In This Year? Kathleen Kingsbury April 1, 2009

These days, even your average billionaire might struggle to keep up with the competition in the Premier League arms race.
How the Yanks Ruined Soccer Alex Massie October 7, 2010

Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia.
Obama’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech Barack Obama December 9, 2009

Historical Examples

It’s like an escalation in the arms race, and understandably, no one wants to disarm alone.
Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to 2006 Various

noun
the continuing competitive attempt by two or more nations each to have available to it more and more powerful weapons than the other(s)
n.

1930, in reference to naval build-ups, from arms (see arm (n.2)) + race (n.1). First used in British English.

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