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[uhn-der-dawg, -dog] /ˈʌn dərˌdɔg, -ˌdɒg/
a person who is expected to lose in a contest or conflict.
a victim of social or political injustice:
The underdogs were beginning to organize their protests.
Origin of underdog
1875-80, Americanism; under- + dog1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for underdog
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You know, it's quite all right to give the underdog a hand, but only one hand.

    A Slave is a Slave Henry Beam Piper
  • So Gud spoke comradely to the underdog and the underdog wagged cordially.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • But Gud did not hear the bark of the underdog, for Gud was dead.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • When the underdog returned there followed at his heels a handsome Devil.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • And we knew for the first time that a man may smile and smile and be an underdog.

    Pieces of Hate Heywood Broun
British Dictionary definitions for underdog


the competitor least likely to win a fight or contest
a person in adversity or in a position of inferiority
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for underdog

"the beaten dog in a fight," 1887, from under + dog (n.). Cf. top dog "dominant person in a situation or hierarchy."

I'm a poor underdog
But tonight I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark.

[from "Canis Major," Robert Frost, 1928]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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