rat race

Slang Dictionary

rat race definition


  1. n.
    a dull and repetitive situation; a dull and unrewarding job. (See also daily grind.) : I am really tired of this rat race—day after day. , She dropped out of the rat race and moved to Vermont, where she opened a barber shop.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]

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