al·​so-ran ˈȯl(t)-(ˌ)sō-ˌran How to pronounce also-ran (audio)
: a horse or dog that finishes out of the money in a race
: a contestant that does not win
: one that is of little importance especially competitively
was just an also-ran in the scramble for … privilegesC. A. Buss

Examples of also-ran in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Haas, in other words, is Formula 1’s basement dweller; their aspirations each year are not to vie for a title but to best fellow also-rans like Williams and Alpine. Erik Shilling, Robb Report, 13 Mar. 2024 His wealth has transformed the fortunes of City, taking the club from an also-ran in the English Premier League to a dominant force. Pan Pylas, Quartz, 13 Mar. 2024 Games were starting to become more popular, but they were powered by CPUs, central processing units, and then graphics were kind of like an also-ran. Lauren Goode, WIRED, 29 Feb. 2024 Compared to Meta, Reddit is an advertising also-ran. Peter Cohan, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Thus, the Republican debates were basically a psychological exercise in human behavior — how can the also-rans criticize Trump enough to stand out as an alternative, but not enough to anger him or his unshakeable base? Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 How very close the American Century came to being the Catastrophe Century becomes clear in Benn Steil’s new biography of one of the many also-rans of our past, Henry Agard Wallace. Heather Wilhelm, National Review, 22 Feb. 2024 Yet almost two weeks after voters went to the polls, the country of 240 million finds itself on the brink of being governed by a coalition of the also-rans. Hasan Ali, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Feb. 2024 Republican Garvey is now Democrat Schiff’s best friend — and Early is Porter’s — until both GOP also-rans are dropped cold on March 6. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 19 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'also-ran.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1895, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of also-ran was in 1895

Dictionary Entries Near also-ran

Cite this Entry

“Also-ran.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a horse or dog that does not finish in the first three places in a race
: a contestant that does not win

More from Merriam-Webster on also-ran

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!