[doun-uh nd-out, -uh n]


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


Also down-and-out·er. a person who is down-and-out.

Origin of down-and-out

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for down-and-out

Contemporary Examples of down-and-out

  • 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.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Mumbling Wins Oscars!

    Zachary Pincus-Roth

    March 3, 2010

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

    The Daily Beast logo
    France's Sarah Palin

    Eric Pape

    November 27, 2009

Historical Examples of down-and-out

  • I'm on my uppers for fair this time—eligible for the down-and-out club.

    The Easiest Way

    Eugene Walter and Arthur Hornblow

  • Or by bold combinations: down-and-out, up-state, flat-footed.

    The American Language

    Henry L. Mencken

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

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

  • And the speculators on the inside graduate to the down-and-out class if they play long enough.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter

  • But that was nothin' to the down-and-out slump I found him in next night, when I goes around for my writin' lesson and so on.


    Sewell Ford

British Dictionary definitions for down-and-out



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


a person who is destitute and, often, homeless; a social outcast or derelict
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