un·der·dog | \ˈən-dər-ˌdȯg \

Definition of underdog 

1 : a loser or predicted loser in a struggle or contest

2 : a victim of injustice or persecution

Examples of underdog in a Sentence

I always root for the underdog instead of the favorite. As a lawyer, she consistently represented the underdog.

Recent Examples on the Web

Behind his mesmerizing crooning is his unassuming, relatable underdog status, and his self-deprecating quips reveal a self-aware man with a willingness to be openly vulnerable. Lizzie Manno, Billboard, "Matt Maltese: The Apocalyptic British Singer-Songwriter That America Desperately Needs," 10 July 2018 South Korea was, indeed, celebrated as an adorable underdog. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Casting a wary eye toward World Cup host Russia," 6 July 2018 Mexico game into Monday’s game with Brazil as a huge underdog, but El Tri bounced back from their awful loss to Sweden with a tough, inspired performance against the World Cup favorites. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "Twitter roasts Neymar after another Oscar-worthy acting performance," 2 July 2018 Ant-Man’s lovable underdog status, perfectly embodied by Paul Rudd’s lazy charm in the lead role, is thus every bit as carefully engineered as any of the larger, more consequential goings-on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Ant-Man and the Wasp' is a bright, cheery tonic from the Marvel superhero factory," 27 June 2018 For many readers, Lovin took on a kind of underdog status — partly because of her GOMI haters, partly because some of the elements that made her a Mormon Mommy Blogger are no longer in play. Lydia Kiesling, The Cut, "The Evolution of a Mormon Mommy Blogger," 27 June 2018 Perhaps one helpful factor ahead of the game was that absolutely no one thinks Japan will go anywhere in the next month - the ultimate underdog status. SI.com, "Colombia 1-2 Japan: Yuya Osako Winner Hands Japanese Shock Victory Over 10 Man Los Cafeteros," 19 June 2018 Despite her underdog status, Nye says its important to take on Larson. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Santos Gets 5th District Nod As Republicans Kick Off Convention," 11 May 2018 But Democrat Beto O’Rourke, even with his underdog status, has taken in more than $13 million. Washington Post, "GOP victory in Arizona still sending off alarm bells," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underdog.' 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 underdog

1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about underdog

Statistics for underdog

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for underdog

The first known use of underdog was in 1859

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for underdog



English Language Learners Definition of underdog

: a person, team, etc., that is expected to lose a contest or battle

: a less powerful person or thing that struggles against a more powerful person or thing (such as a corporation)


un·der·dog | \ˈən-dər-ˌdȯg \

Kids Definition of underdog

: a person or team thought to have little chance of winning (as an election or a game)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on underdog

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


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!