[dis-uhd-van-tij, -vahn-]


absence or deprivation of advantage or equality.
the state or an instance of being in an unfavorable circumstance or condition: to be at a disadvantage.
something that puts one in an unfavorable position or condition: His bad temper is a disadvantage.
injury to interest, reputation, credit, profit, etc.; loss: Your behavior is a disadvantage to your family's good name.

verb (used with object), dis·ad·van·taged, dis·ad·van·tag·ing.

to subject to disadvantage: I was disadvantaged by illness.

Origin of disadvantage

1350–1400; Middle English disavauntage < Anglo-French; Old French desavantage. See dis-1, advantage

Synonyms for disadvantage

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disadvantage

Contemporary Examples of disadvantage

Historical Examples of disadvantage

  • Under its influence Hope sometimes appeared at disadvantage.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • And yet, upon the whole, it is not greatly to his disadvantage.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.

  • Do you know of any thin above that can be found to your disadvantage?

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • "You shall not be at any disadvantage," he said, and began to strip with all possible speed.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

British Dictionary definitions for disadvantage



an unfavourable circumstance, state of affairs, thing, person, etc
injury, loss, or detriment
an unfavourable condition or situation (esp in the phrase at a disadvantage)


(tr) to put at a disadvantage; handicap
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

Word Origin and History for disadvantage

late 14c., disavauntage, from Old French desavantage (13c.), from des- (see dis-) + avantage (see advantage).


1530s, from disadvantage (n.). Related: Disadvantaged; disadvantaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper