[uhn-der-dawg, -dog]


a person who is expected to lose in a contest or conflict.
a victim of social or political injustice: The underdogs were beginning to organize their protests.

Origin of underdog

1875–80, Americanism; under- + dog1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for underdog


Examples from the Web for underdog

Contemporary Examples of underdog

Historical Examples of underdog

  • You know, it's quite all right to give the underdog a hand, but only one hand.

    A Slave is a Slave

    Henry Beam Piper

  • But Gud did not hear the bark of the Underdog, for Gud was dead.

  • So Gud spoke comradely to the Underdog and the Underdog wagged cordially.

  • When the Underdog returned there followed at his heels a handsome Devil.

  • And we knew for the first time that a man may smile and smile and be an underdog.

    Pieces of Hate

    Heywood Broun

British Dictionary definitions for underdog



the competitor least likely to win a fight or contest
a person in adversity or in a position of inferiority
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

Word Origin and History for underdog

"the beaten dog in a fight," 1887, from under + dog (n.). Cf. top dog "dominant person in a situation or hierarchy."

I'm a poor underdog
But tonight I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark.

[from "Canis Major," Robert Frost, 1928]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper