dog eat dog

dog-eat-dog

[dawg-eet-dawg, dog-eet-dog]
adjective
1.
marked by destructive or ruthless competition; without self-restraint, ethics, etc.: It's a dog-eat-dog industry.
noun
2.
complete egotism; action based on utter cynicism: The only rule of the marketplace was dog-eat-dog.

Origin:
1930–35

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

dog-eat-dog definition


Ruthlessly competitive: “You have to look out for your own interests; it's a dog-eat-dog world.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

dog eat dog

Ruthless acquisition or competition, as in With shrinking markets, it's dog eat dog for every company in this field. This contradicts a Latin proverb which maintains that dog does not eat dog, first recorded in English in 1543. Nevertheless, by 1732 it was put as "Dogs are hard drove when they eat dogs" (Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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