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[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.
Origin of underdog
1875-80, Americanism; under- + dog1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for underdog
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And Fidu, the underdog, followed after Gud, for why shouldn't a mad dog follow a mad master?

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • When the underdog returned there followed at his heels a handsome Devil.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • We Americans have a notable cultural premise in our consideration for the underdog.

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

    Pieces of Hate Heywood Broun
  • They were all alike because they were copycats, and the underdog would chase one and then the other and then all three at once.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
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
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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
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