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 limited visibility over prices, which are mostly set in quarterly or annual contracts, have put buyers at a disadvantage in negotiations with producers. Joe Wallace, WSJ, "CME Seeks to Tap Electric-Car Demand With Lithium Futures," 8 Apr. 2021 The Chicago Blackhawks put themselves at a severe disadvantage in their battle with the Nashville Predators for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division with a 3-0 loss to the Predators on Saturday. Phil Thompson, chicagotribune.com, "5 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ costly 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators, including a not-so-special special teams," 4 Apr. 2021 Those points gave teams an advantage or disadvantage on the final leg of the race to a buoy floating in an undisclosed location where the $1 million prize awaited. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego trio joins Nat Geo’s ‘Race to the Center of the Earth’," 28 Mar. 2021 Core neighborhoods in Cleveland, as well as rural areas throughout Ohio, lack easy Internet access, putting them at a disadvantage for virtual school and online business platforms. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "COVID showed the cracks in society. How can we fix them?," 28 Mar. 2021 Fratarcangeli, whose eponymous firm is part of the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, sees corporate tax increases as a disadvantage to global companies and has shifted to small and mid value companies in anticipation. Jason Bisnoff, Forbes, "Tax Hikes Are Coming. Here’s What Top Advisors Are Telling The Ultra Rich," 18 Mar. 2021 Over the years, the series became a melancholy exploration of advantage and disadvantage, of the nub of personality and the casing of class identity, and the arrow of chance. Alissa Quart, The New Republic, "Michael Apted Took The Very Long View," 12 Jan. 2021 One big disadvantage McDaniel laments is that Florida doesn’t allow distilleries to ship their products directly to consumers. John Kell, Fortune, "The unforeseen consequences craft distillers faced because of COVID-19," 28 Mar. 2021 Black patients may be suffering from the weathering effect — essentially, the cumulative impact of the discrimination and socioeconomic disadvantage that has plagued them throughout their lives and worsens the severity of other illnesses. Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times, "Another racial disparity that may be heightened by the pandemic: access to outpatient care," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Testifying against the identical Senate bill, Jeff Clark, president of the Advanced Power Alliance, a renewables trade group, said the bills are designed to disadvantage wind and solar in the marketplace. Dallas News, "Texas House panel weighs anti-renewable energy bills fueled by winter storm," 9 Apr. 2021 Utah’s allocation of vaccine doses per adult population lags behind most other states because federal officials have been using population estimates from 2018 — figures that disadvantage fast-growing states. Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Federal officials are undercounting Utah’s COVID-19 vaccination rates because of a weeks-old flaw in state data," 9 Apr. 2021 Indeed, lack of access has been used to disadvantage low-income communities. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Jeff Bezos likes Biden’s infrastructure plan because he knows it’s worth the money," 7 Apr. 2021 ProPublica has found that, whether intentionally or not, some vaccine programs have been designed with inherent barriers that disadvantage many people who are most at risk of dying from the disease, exacerbating inequities in access to health care. Caroline Chen, ProPublica, "How Inequity Gets Built Into America’s Vaccination System," 1 Mar. 2021 Mass vaccination efforts disadvantage frail older individuals who need to avoid crowds to stay safe, and many older patients lack the technical skills to obtain vaccination appointments online. Emily Maxson, STAT, "Primary care practices could be the Biden administration’s secret weapon in the fight against Covid-19," 27 Feb. 2021 But the Grammys still faced criticism that its voting practices disadvantage Black artists, especially in hip-hop & R&B. Neil Shah, WSJ, "Taylor Swift, Beyoncé Break Records at Intimate Grammys," 15 Mar. 2021 Gettis said providing vaccines for the Capitol will not disadvantage SEARHC’s other efforts in Southeast Alaska. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska tribal health consortium provides vaccines for state Capitol," 6 Mar. 2021 Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan organization that supported the tax breaks, says that any repeal would disadvantage taxpayers who are in the process of receiving the funds. Alana Abramson, Time, "No Repeal of the $170 Billion Tax Break for Billionaires and No Change in Minimum Wage: Why Democrats Can't Keep Their Promises in the Relief Bill," 2 Mar. 2021

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

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disadvantage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disadvantage. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for disadvantage



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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