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dog-eat-dog

[dawg-eet-dawg, dog-eet-dog]
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adjective
  1. marked by destructive or ruthless competition; without self-restraint, ethics, etc.: It's a dog-eat-dog industry.
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noun
  1. complete egotism; action based on utter cynicism: The only rule of the marketplace was dog-eat-dog.
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Origin of dog-eat-dog

First recorded in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

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dog eat dog in Culture

dog-eat-dog

Ruthlessly competitive: “You have to look out for your own interests; it's a dog-eat-dog world.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with dog eat dog

dog eat dog

Ruthless acquisition or competition, as in With shrinking markets, it's dog eat dog for every company in this field. This contradicts a Latin proverb which maintains that dog does not eat dog, first recorded in English in 1543. Nevertheless, by 1732 it was put as “Dogs are hard drove when they eat dogs” (Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia).

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.