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rat race

noun, Informal.
1.
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.
Origin
1935-1940
1935-40, Americanism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for rat-race

rat race

noun
1.
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
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Word Origin and History for rat-race
n.

also rat race, "competitive struggle," 1934, from rat (n.) + race (n.1). Rat-run is from 1870 in a literal sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for rat-race

rat race

noun phrase

A job, situation, milieu, etc, marked by confusion and stress; futile and enervating hyperactivity; the everyday world of toil and struggle; the routine workaday: the rat-race of ordinary social gatherings

[1939+; found by 1937 as the name of a dance]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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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. [ ; first half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for rat race

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Word Value for rat

3
3
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Quotes with rat-race