[ uhn-der-dawg, -dog ]
/ ˈʌn dərˌdɔg, -ˌdɒg /


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.

Nearby words

  1. undercutter,
  2. underdaks,
  3. underdevelop,
  4. underdeveloped,
  5. underdo,
  6. underdone,
  7. underdraft,
  8. underdrain,
  9. underdrainage,
  10. underdraw

Origin of underdog

1875–80, Americanism; under- + dog1

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for underdog

British Dictionary definitions for underdog


/ (ˈʌndəˌdɒɡ) /


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