[dawg-eet-dawg, dog-eet-dog]


marked by destructive or ruthless competition; without self-restraint, ethics, etc.: It's a dog-eat-dog industry.


complete egotism; action based on utter cynicism: The only rule of the marketplace was dog-eat-dog.

Nearby words

  1. dog-cheap,
  2. dog-day cicada,
  3. dog-doo,
  4. dog-ear,
  5. dog-eared,
  6. dog-end,
  7. dog-leg stair,
  8. dog-legged,
  9. dog-paddle,
  10. dog-poor

Origin of dog-eat-dog

First recorded in 1930–35 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dog-eat-dog

  • The cannibalism is, in typical Sondheim fashion, a cheeky metaphor for the dog-eat-dog capitalism of the day.

    12 Craziest Pie Scenes|Marlow Stern|November 21, 2011|DAILY BEAST
  • His plays have typically been dog-eat-dog affairs; it makes sense that he views politics as trench warfare.

  • If we eventually lick the Kradens, one of the very reasons will be because we're a dog-eat-dog society.

    Medal of Honor|Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • I cannot live by the dog-eat-dog code that seems to prevail wherever folk get jammed together in an unwieldy social mass.

    North of Fifty-Three|Bertrand W. Sinclair

Culture definitions for dog-eat-dog


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

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.