rat race


Definition of rat race

: strenuous, wearisome, and usually competitive activity or rush

Examples of rat race in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the fundraising rat race of New York City nonprofits, a $550 million inaugural campaign has the potential to raise people’s hackles. Chloe Malle, Town & Country, "Is the Shed the Defining Arts Institution of a New New York City?," 14 Mar. 2019 Salle Ingle is stuck in the same rat race as Kathy Ireland, and you and me, too. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "All Followers Are Fake Followers," 30 Jan. 2018 For me, self-care means working out regularly, meditating, and taking walks outdoors in nature to escape the rat race and reconnect with the earth. Jessica Cruel, SELF, "How 10 Powerful Women Practice ‘Self-Care Sunday’," 15 May 2018 Those who don’t make it through the rat race head to the rat-retirement kennel in Morogoro, where old TB-detection rats also reside. Alexandra Wexler, WSJ, "How Giant African Rats Are Saving Lives in Former War Zones," 4 May 2018 Michael Ward and Michael Smaldone are two such people, who, after a career in the proverbial rat race of the high fashion world, have set up havens in Bellport and Sag Harbor. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "A New Unisex Line Captures the Romance of a Secluded Life Out East," 24 Feb. 2018 Molina is joined by Laguna Beach’s Evie Cant and Edison’s Avery Dorff in the girls’ 3,200 rated race at Arcadia on Friday night. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "Locals competing at Arcadia Invitational have strong supporting cast," 6 Apr. 2018 These anachronistic twentysomethings are proud to be the odd men and women out of the digital-recording rat race. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "The Shacks' 'Haze' Is A Sweet, Spooky Gem Existing Out of Time: Video Premiere," 20 Mar. 2018 By all accounts, the frenzy of competition among high-achieving young people is more intense than ever before: From middle school, if not earlier, kids are desperate to beat their peers on the next leg of the rat race. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Happiness and Man at Yale," 9 Feb. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of rat race

1937, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rat race

Dictionary Entries near rat race

rato unit

rat-poison plant


rat race

rat rhyme

rat run


Statistics for rat race

Last Updated

6 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rat race

The first known use of rat race was in 1937

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on rat race

Spanish Central: Translation of rat race

Comments on rat race

What made you want to look up rat race? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!