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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This is definitely where football is at a distinct disadvantage. William Power, WSJ, 15 May 2022 The Ukrainian air force began the current war at a serious disadvantage compared to the Russian air force. David Axe, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 And while Martinez is 6-foot-3, his 165-pound frame puts him at a physical disadvantage among professionals. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 27 Apr. 2022 So when Peter has a dust-up with hotheaded Liam Murphy over Pam, a new girl in town, the Irish are at a distinct disadvantage. Chris Vognar, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2022 That would have put the other 95% of America’s smaller businesses at a distinct competitive disadvantage. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 21 Apr. 2022 That means the Democrats’ original map — which Republicans say placed them at a greater disadvantage than the replacement one — is also still in play. Jeff Barker, Baltimore Sun, 1 Apr. 2022 Getting an unnecessary shot could, in theory, put you at an immunological disadvantage in another way, by interfering with your immune response to a previous COVID shot or infection. Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, 31 Mar. 2022 Wiggins’ continued defensive evolution should only help quash any lingering concerns about the three-guard lineup’s size disadvantage. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Since China can’t comply with Thailand’s engine requirement, the terms of the deal need to be amended in a way that doesn’t disadvantage the Thai navy, said naval spokesman Vice Admiral Pokkrong Monthatphalin. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, 14 Mar. 2022 The major contenders all drew satisfactory posts Wednesday for the once-around, mile-and-an-eighth stakes, a distance which can severely disadvantage horses in stalls toward the outside of the starting gate. Tom Jicha, sun-sentinel.com, 30 Mar. 2022 Software can also disadvantage certain candidates, says Joseph Fuller, a management professor at Harvard Business School. Arielle Pardes, Wired, 16 Feb. 2022 But civil rights organizations said the latest effort—like the initial one— would disadvantage Black voters. Jeff Barker, Baltimore Sun, 24 Mar. 2022 Many patient advocates worry that the obstacles to getting Evusheld could disadvantage patients who do not use the internet or have little time to phone physicians or birddog a government database. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2022 The state civil rights agency recently released a report showing how pay gaps statewide at larger companies disadvantage women and people of color, and that men were more likely to hold management positions statewide, particularly in Silicon Valley. Chase Difeliciantonio, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Mar. 2022 The lawsuit alleges that was done on purpose to disadvantage the Democratic minority voting members of the board, Young and Bronstein. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Mar. 2022 Jackson's nomination comes during a political season in which the US Supreme Court and the Republican Party are curtailing broad access to the ballot box via court rulings and bills that disproportionately disadvantage voters of color. Brandon Tensley And Maya Brown, CNN, 27 Feb. 2022 See More

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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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disadvantage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disadvantage. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for disadvantage


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

Kids Definition of disadvantage

: something that makes someone or something worse or less likely to succeed than others

More from Merriam-Webster on disadvantage

Nglish: Translation of disadvantage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disadvantage for Arabic Speakers


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