any exhausting, unremitting, and usually competitive activity or routine, especially a pressured urban working life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for leisure, contemplation, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use rat race in a sentence
For a long time, burnout was seen as the worker’s problem—something they needed to fix with self-care and yoga and sleep if they were going to make it in the rat race of life.The 'Great Resignation' Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough? | Jamie Ducharme | October 14, 2021 | Time
Some young people are also adopting passive forms of resistance to what increasingly seems like an unwinnable rat race, such as the “lying flat” philosophy, essentially opting out and doing the bare minimum.Xi Jinping just sent a bleak message to China’s super rich | Jane Li | August 18, 2021 | Quartz
This strip of sand, home to a smattering of cabins and shacks, is the perfect spot for those easing their way back into the rat race of modern life.
It just felt like a rat race in these classes to memorize these procedures, these formulas.Can honors and regular students learn math together? A new approach argues yes. | Laura Meckler | June 4, 2021 | Washington Post
Once they traded away Harden, Houston withdrew from that rat race.The Post-Harden Rockets Have A Different Style — And Lots Of Possibilities | Louis Zatzman | February 19, 2021 | FiveThirtyEight
The Daily Pic: James Nares slows Manhattan's rat race to a snail's pace.
To stay, and attempt to make the cartel rat-race over, sweetly and rationally so that no one would be hurt?The Cartels Jungle | Irving E. Cox, Jr.
They suffered the ever-present agitation of envy, the constant comparison to one's superiors, the plagued rat race.After the Rain | Sam Vaknin
But under torment of insomnia the many selves of the mind may abandon the congress of reason and start a rat-race.The Trial of Callista Blake | Edgar Pangborn
British Dictionary definitions for rat race
a continual routine of hectic competitive activity: working in the City is a real rat race
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with rat race
Fierce competition to maintain or improve one's position in the workplace or social life. For example, You may not realize what a rat race it is to get research grants. This term presumably alludes to the rat's desperate struggle for survival. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.