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 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 The receiver out of New Albany, Ind., is listed at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds on Purdue's website, which already put Moore at a disadvantage on draft day. Chris Sims, The Indianapolis Star, "Purdue WR Rondale Moore dazzles during Pro Day ahead of 2021 NFL Draft," 23 Mar. 2021 The achievement this season is notable given the disadvantage West Coast schools faced. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "It's the Pac-12's NCAA men's tournament, and many of the 'big dogs' can only watch," 23 Mar. 2021 That shooting helped Lutheran East overcome a 28-16 rebounding disadvantage. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Lutheran East outruns Ottawa-Glandorf, 58-52, for return to Division III state championship game," 20 Mar. 2021 Lack of strong storms in the Sierra Nevada left states like California, Nevada, and Arizona at a huge disadvantage going into the dry season -- the summer. Allison Chinchar And Jackson Dill, CNN, "Expect spring to be even drier out west, says NOAA," 19 Mar. 2021 The historic unavailability of Heathrow slots would minimize JetBlue frequencies, a disadvantage that could be offset by the attractiveness of JetBlue’s Mint product. Ted Reed, Forbes, "United Airlines Bets On Paris And Euro-Optimism. But JetBlue, Startups And Safe Travel Concerns Linger," 19 Mar. 2021 There’s no real advantage for Illinois being the top seed in the Midwest Region or disadvantage for Arkansas being the No. 3 seed in the South. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: 8 tips for filling out your NCAA Tournament brackets — if you have no idea what you’re doing," 17 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Shady practices on larger vessels further disadvantage the little guys. Popular Science, "Post-pandemic seafood could be more sustainable. Here’s how tech is driving the change.," 23 Feb. 2021 Stuck at home, investors were less likely to seek out founders beyond their immediate web, a trend that tended to disadvantage founders who are female and/or people of color. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Venture capital funding boomed in 2020. But women’s share of the pie shrank to 2.2%," 7 Feb. 2021 In a letter made public yesterday, nearly four dozen House Republicans raised concerns that the Fed’s actions would disadvantage U.S. banks and certain fossil fuel-heavy industries. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, presented by API: Liberals escalate fight to shape Democratic agenda with effort to tank bipartisan clean energy deal," 11 Dec. 2020 But, Southerners worried that direct democracy would disadvantage slave-holding states. Elly Belle, refinery29.com, "The Electoral College Is Racist — & That’s Exactly Why It Still Exists," 4 Nov. 2020 New limits on relief may also inadvertently disadvantage hospitals with patients most severely affected by the pandemic, health-policy experts said. Melanie Evans, WSJ, "Latest Covid-19 Aid Package Scales Back Funds to Hospitals, Clinics," 1 Jan. 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

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disadvantage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disadvantage. Accessed 11 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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