dis·​ad·​van·​tage | \ ˌdis-əd-ˈvan-tij \

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

debit, disbenefit, downside, drawback, handicap, incommodity, liability, minus, negative, strike

Antonyms: Noun

advantage, asset, edge, plus

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Examples of disadvantage in a Sentence


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

This could put Tesla at a disadvantage, especially as its larger, and more efficient rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Jaguar begin ramping up their own EV production. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Tesla promises all cars ordered by October 15th will qualify for $7,500 tax break," 12 Oct. 2018 Across the world, girls who menstruate are being put at a disadvantage, missing out on education and opportunity, because of a biological inevitability. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "5 Things to Know About Girls on International Day of the Girl," 11 Oct. 2018 That puts players like Johnson at less of a disadvantage. Brian Costa, WSJ, "The British Open Sets Up a Clash of Styles," 20 July 2018 Suffice to say none of Dixon’s fellow championship contenders see his starting as spot much of disadvantage ahead of Sunday’s race. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar at Road America: Newgarden edges Power to nab 3rd pole of season," 23 June 2018 The biggest reason for that is that Democrats remain at the most literal of disadvantages. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Texas midterms, 'blue wave' may look more like a ripple," 8 Mar. 2018 Schaeffer said there are disadvantages for edge providers that purchase interconnection from Comcast instead of buying transit from Cogent or other transit providers. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Comcast complains it will make less money under Calif. net neutrality law," 16 Oct. 2018 Even though the retailer is known for doling out coupons, its prices are still too high, analysts said, a disadvantage in an age when consumers are accustomed to searching out the best deals online. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Bed Bath & Beyond Struggles to Clear the Clutter, Close the Price Gap," 4 Oct. 2018 The result is a new disadvantage for US assembly plants, left as collateral damage in the escalating trade war. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "How Trump’s tariffs will hurt US tech companies," 18 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But administration officials insisted that any solutions shouldn’t disadvantage rural areas by treating them differently from urban areas. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "Postal Service Review Proposes Sweeping Changes Likely to Hit Amazon," 4 Dec. 2018 On one hand, this makes sense; Trump has had a consistently low approval rating, and the political party in power is usually disadvantaged in the midterm elections. Tara Golshan, Vox, "2018 Republican nominees don’t want to talk about Trump," 20 Aug. 2018 In a September letter to U.S. trade authorities, the iPhone maker said tariffs would disadvantage the company compared with foreign competitors and lead to higher U.S. consumer prices. Bob Davis, WSJ, "Trump Expects to Move Ahead With Boost on China Tariffs," 26 Nov. 2018 Time and again, research has shown that public transport in American cities fails to give poorer residents access to jobs, both disadvantaging those individuals, and hampering city economies. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Ride-Hailing Apps May Benefit Poor and Minority Communities The Most, Study Suggests," 30 June 2018 California Republicans overwhelmingly voted for the House Obamacare repeal bill that would have devastated the state’s health care system, and the GOP tax law that disadvantages taxpayers in states like California the most. Tara Golshan, Vox, "How Kevin McCarthy led California Republicans astray," 30 Nov. 2018 Just as the argument that Facebook systematically disadvantages conservative voices can only be made in bad faith. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why Twitter should ignore the phony outrage over “shadow banning”," 27 July 2018 The opposition was disadvantaged because of the ruling party’s dominance of public media and the overlap between government and Fidesz campaign advertisements, the OSCE said. Bloomberg.com, "Zuckerberg Testifies Before Senate Panel," 10 Apr. 2018 That said, historically, the president’s party is disadvantaged going into the midterm elections, and Trump’s unpopularity isn’t doing Republicans any favors. Tara Golshan, Vox, "3 new polls show Democrats really could flip the House in November," 12 Sep. 2018

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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Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for disadvantage

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

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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 \

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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Comments on disadvantage

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