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View synonyms for down-and-out

down-and-out

[ doun-uhnd-out, -uhn ]

adjective

  1. without any money, or means of support, or prospects; destitute; penniless.
  2. without physical strength or stamina; disabled; incapacitated.
  3. too physically weakened by repeated defeats to qualify as a competent professional boxer.


noun

  1. Also down-and-outer. a person who is down-and-out.

down-and-out

adjective

  1. without any means of livelihood; impoverished and, often, socially outcast


noun

  1. a person who is destitute and, often, homeless; a social outcast or derelict
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Word History and Origins

Origin of down-and-out1

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90
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Idioms and Phrases

Lacking funds or prospects; destitute, penniless. For example, After losing his job, car, and home, he was completely down and out . This term probably originated in boxing, where it alludes to the fighter who is knocked down and stays down for a given time, thereby losing the bout. [c. 1900] Also see down for the count .
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Example Sentences

It is Ma who refuses to abandon the down-and-out Wilson family even though their company may slow the journey west.

The Oscars also like down-and-out characters and misunderstood geniuses, both of which tend to beget low-talkers.

But their impact on their down-and-out political parties may turn out to be nearly identical.

Of course Garrison had been to the dogs during the past year—what down-and-out jockey has not gone there?

Fane spoke up languidly: "It rather looks as though we were the down-and-out delegation at present; doesn't it, Orchil?"

I went on down the street feeling almost like a man again and not a down-and-out ex-convict.

Had about as much sympathy for a down-and-out, Steele did, as you'd find milk in a turnip.

A man's a millionaire to-day and a member of the down-and-out club to-morrow.

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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

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