dog-eat-dog

[ dawg-eet-dawg, dog-eet-dog ]
/ ˈdɔg itˈdɔg, ˈdɒg itˈdɒg /

adjective

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

noun

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

Words nearby dog-eat-dog

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences 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

Cultural definitions for dog-eat-dog

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.

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).

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