Definition of underdog in English:



  • 1A competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest.

    • ‘The thing is though, there's more than one way to win a football match, as underdogs have proved time and again over the years.’
    • ‘We were certainly the underdogs in this competition, Jess, and it's not really a surprise we didn't win.’
    • ‘My vote was giving the underdog a chance; it was a sympathy vote.’
    • ‘We are all on the same side, underdogs fighting against social and environmental oppression.’
    • ‘Denis was the underdog, but the tide of the fight soon turned against the heavily favored Suzuki.’
    • ‘A gentleman genius, who fought for the underdog and played truly inspirational music.’
    • ‘Hopefully we will continue to be supported, though people have to remember that, even after two victories, we are still underdogs in every game.’
    • ‘The underdogs in any fight usually prepare body and mind meticulously before stepping into the ring.’
    • ‘We go into the game as underdogs but it's a great opportunity for the players to go out and enjoy the game.’
    • ‘We will be huge underdogs in the quarter-finals but we have nothing to lose’
    • ‘Going into the match as underdogs, his concern was to compete effectively against the champions.’
    • ‘Then even the most tired plot device of all can work: the underdog fighting all odds to win.’
    • ‘It's always enjoyable to watch a story where an underdog has to fight incredible odds to win.’
    • ‘In his lifetime, he became a symbol of courage to a deprived country, the underdog in all his fights and still coming out on top.’
    • ‘He went into the fight as the underdog and came out 15 rounds later as the world champion on points, with the judges split two to one.’
    • ‘We went into this game as complete underdogs but produced a performance of grit and determination in true championship fashion.’
    • ‘You were the underdog in this fight, at least to those people who didn't really know you as a boxer.’
    • ‘Isn't this the band of underdogs that won over America with grit and determination?’
    • ‘In sports, it's fun to root for the underdog because of the small chance that he can knock off a superstar.’
    • ‘We have always been big underdogs in the derby games and more often than not we have gone into the game worrying about them rather than concentrating on our own strengths.’
    weaker party, victim, prey
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person who has little status in society.
      • ‘Everyone loves an underdog, and this movie has a quartet of them.’
      • ‘Americans love success stories, especially tales of underdogs who overcome all odds to achieve success by their own efforts.’
      • ‘Moore didn't allow her political underdog status to stop her from throwing her hat into the campaign ring.’
      • ‘Despite the instant attention they got in the UK, they enjoyed their underdog status in the US.’
      • ‘As a champion of the underdog, what would she say about how society has dealt with the gap between the haves and the have nots of this world?’
      • ‘The nation loves to see an underdog fighting back.’
      • ‘Maybe it's because he's an underdog living in an well-adjusted, mentally balanced society.’


Late 19th century: with reference to the beaten dog in a dogfight.