dis·​ad·​van·​tage | \ ˌdis-əd-ˈvan-tij How to pronounce disadvantage (audio) \

Definition of disadvantage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : loss or damage especially to reputation, credit, or finances : detriment the deal worked to their disadvantage
2a : an unfavorable, inferior, or prejudicial condition we were at a disadvantage
b : a quality or circumstance that makes achievement unusually difficult : handicap his lack of formal schooling was a serious disadvantage


disadvantaged; disadvantaging; disadvantages

Definition of disadvantage (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to place at a disadvantage : harm

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Synonyms & Antonyms for disadvantage

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of disadvantage in a Sentence

Noun She had the disadvantage of growing up in a poor community. They argued that the new regulations would place their company at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. There are advantages and disadvantages to the new system.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the nature of arbitration has disadvantages for consumers. Pamela Boykoff, CNN, "Use Amazon, Uber or Walmart.com? You've probably signed away your right to sue them," 13 Feb. 2020 Indiana has lost four straight ATS in back-to-backs and is 5-7 ATS on the season, with a minus-4.8 average margin of victory when having a rest disadvantage. Geoff Clark, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers odds, picks and best bets," 8 Feb. 2020 Livers, a smaller forward built for the modern game, had a size disadvantage but a mobility advantage against Bezhanishvili. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball vs. Illinois: Scouting report, prediction," 24 Jan. 2020 That had some disadvantages, said Peter C. Perdue, a professor of history at Yale University, in an interview. Yoni Wilkenfeld, Quartz, "From tea to iPhones, US-China trade tensions span centuries," 6 Nov. 2019 Arizona had a 13-yard disadvantage in average starting field position vs. Washington, 17 yards vs. USC. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Arizona football's issues go beyond starting quarterback Khalil Tate," 22 Oct. 2019 In addition to being slow, the researchers' system has a serious disadvantage. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Conservation of energy used to parallelize quantum key distribution," 17 Dec. 2018 The shorter version is: Democrats have a map disadvantage. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The Senate after John McCain," 26 Aug. 2018 The 2020 presidential election has featured a record slate of female candidates, but gender double-standards have put them all at a disadvantage, according to The Nation writer Joan Walsh. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "In the know: Women in the news 1/20-1/24," 24 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Pentagon changed its technical requirements after Trump's complaints this summer, disadvantaging Amazon, the company alleges in its complaint. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Experts want to help heartland cities compete for tech jobs. Their plan costs $100 billion.," 10 Dec. 2019 Students for Fair Admissions did not call any students or present any cases of applicants who were specifically disadvantaged by Harvard’s admissions process. BostonGlobe.com, "And the stable percentage of Asian-Americans admitted for years before the lawsuit raised questions about whether Harvard deployed some form of racial quota, barred by the law.," 13 Oct. 2019 The report goes on to explain that Real are not disadvantaged by Barcelona being linked because it is claimed Neymar's motivation is specifically to leave PSG, rather than to join a particular club. SI.com, "Real Madrid 'Turn Back' on Paul Pogba to Refocus on Sensational Neymar Move," 9 Aug. 2019 People of color, for example, were frequently disadvantaged economically while dealing with segregation laws, the right to vote, and other forms of political and social injustice. Brianna Holt, Quartz, "The catchphrase of 2019 has a glaring blindspot," 26 Dec. 2019 But Brad Allen, the library’s executive director, said eliminating overdue fines is in line with the stance of the American Library Association that library policies should not disadvantage low-income people. USA TODAY, "$4 million dome home, owl surprise Christmas guest, cold sea turtles, red snapper: News from around our 50 states," 23 Dec. 2019 August 2019 The European Commission launches an antitrust investigation into Libra, amid concerns that the currency could unfairly disadvantage rivals. Los Angeles Times, "Where it all went wrong for Facebook’s Libra," 16 Oct. 2019 Europe’s antitrust regulators slapped Google with a $1.7 billion fine in March unfairly inserting exclusivity clauses into contracts with advertisers, disadvantaging rivals in the online advertising business. Washington Post, "States expected to target Google in new antitrust probe," 9 Sep. 2019 Those who pay for the services are also disadvantaged by licensing; poor consumers, deterred by higher costs, often resort to doing jobs for the electrician or contractor themselves, with predictably shoddy results. James P. Sutton, National Review, "Licensing Reform Makes Inroads in Pennsylvania," 10 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disadvantage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disadvantage


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1550, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for disadvantage


Middle English disavauntage, from Anglo-French desavantage, from des- dis- + avantage advantage

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Time Traveler for disadvantage

Time Traveler

The first known use of disadvantage was in the 14th century

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Statistics for disadvantage

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disadvantage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disadvantage. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for disadvantage


How to pronounce disadvantage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disadvantage

: something that causes difficulty : something that makes someone or something worse or less likely to succeed than others
: a bad or undesirable quality or feature
: loss, damage, or harm


dis·​ad·​van·​tage | \ ˌdis-əd-ˈvan-tij How to pronounce disadvantage (audio) \

Kids Definition of disadvantage

: a state or condition that favors someone else Our late start was a disadvantage in the race.

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