Definition of down-and-out in US English:



  • (of a person) without money, a job, or a place to live; destitute.

    ‘a down-and-out homeless vagrant’
    • ‘Brothers Charles and Maxon are both mentally ill and in various degrees of being down and out.’
    • ‘The parents, seemingly unconcerned for their daughter's immediate welfare, said they were down and out and could not care for the child.’
    • ‘But we should also find the E8 million needed for our down and out homeless in Britain.’
    • ‘But as a whole, these were just people who were out of work and down and out.’
    • ‘OK, you know what, they said she was down but she's not down and out.’
    • ‘Now I understand that no one would choose to be down and out if they could help it, and I in no way subscribe to the ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ or any other right wing ideology.’
    • ‘But please consider: is it really better to take chances when you're down and out, and each failure will really hurt?’
    • ‘We were not down and out or destitute, which is the picture some people have tried to paint.’
    • ‘He cares about the environment, the work situation, how you make a living, if you're down and out.’
    • ‘Everyone had a place to lay their head, and if you were down and out, there was always someone to share with you.’
    • ‘We are seeing, under this legislation, that that person will be down and out.’
    • ‘It's obvious the guy is pretty much down and out but at least he should be allowed one more chance of glory.’
    • ‘Then there was your courageous expose of local government in Washington, DC, worthy of comparison with the writings of your hero, Orwell, when he was down and out in Paris.’
    • ‘I have no problem with giving a kid a sandwich for lunch if it helps his parents get by while they are down and out.’
    • ‘They can accept help, too, but it's easiest for them when they feel like they're not completely down and out.’
    • ‘She did as much as she could for other family members that were down and out, helped whoever she could when she could.’
    • ‘It tells the story of a group of ancient, and very well preserved, martial arts masters - we're talking hundreds of years old here - living down and out on the fringes of a modern society that has passed their ways by.’
    • ‘There is nothing caring about kicking those who are already down and out.’
    • ‘‘For someone who is genuinely poor and down and out and doesn't have the ability to repay their debts, there is no change at all,’ he said.’
    • ‘These weren't people down on their luck, or down and out in London; they were well dressed and outwardly clean and regular looking people in their (I guess) mid thirties.’
    destitute, poverty-stricken, impoverished, indigent, penniless, insolvent, impecunious, ruined, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
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  • A person without money, a job, or a place to live.

    • ‘He said it's common for such items like mowers and quads to be stolen because of their portability but it's a shame it had to happen to someone already in the down and out.’
    • ‘Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has been snapped in Beverly Hills dressed as a down and out and rummaging through the trash.’
    • ‘It was gloomy, and the skulking figures of the town's down-and-outs gave the whole area a certain not-quite-alive not-quite-dead feel.’
    • ‘The constabulary responded by disguising two officers as down-and-outs.’
    • ‘These were not artisans as such, it was asserted, but down-and-outs, who lived at the margins, involved in street theft and other criminal activities.’
    • ‘He made his name painting brutal depictions of Glaswegian down-and-outs, hardmen and football thugs.’
    • ‘It's easy to look down on down-and-outs and forget that they are a community in their own right.’
    • ‘Lots of down-and-outs in Paris sleep over the hot air grates in the street.’
    • ‘His concern for the poor, his concern for the down and out, his concern for the pain that he's seen in the world is all crystallized when he celebrates Mass.’
    • ‘It's seen to be the place of the hobos, the real down-and-outs.’
    • ‘Not all that many years ago, only dogs and down-and-outs ate while walking along the street.’
    • ‘They were always writing stories about down-and-outs on the beach.’
    • ‘Of all the hopeless souls he had ever come across on the streets, of all the down-and-outs and beggars, he had to pick this one to ‘save’.’
    • ‘Police plan to take weekend binge drinkers and drunken down-and-outs to the facility until they are fit to look after themselves again.’
    • ‘For its members, church can be spending an afternoon at a Costa Mesa park, where they share lunch and conversation with the down and out.’
    • ‘He was looking for cigarette butts which he planned to gather for the rest of the down-and-outs to smoke.’
    • ‘You meet every sort of person, from the down-and-outs to the rich and famous.’
    • ‘Then he went to live among the down-and-outs in England and in Paris.’
    • ‘The British government built workhouses for the down and out of the time and when the great famine of 1847 took its toll, that was the last straw for the down-trodden Irish poor.’
    • ‘The musical is set in Depression-era USA and the costumes and scenery aptly depicted the contrast between soup kitchens of the down-and-outs and the opulent homes and lifestyles of the rich.’
    poor person, pauper, indigent, bankrupt, insolvent
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/ˈˌdaʊn ən ˈˌaʊt//ˈˌdoun ən ˈˌout/