Definition of also-ran in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈôlsōˌran/

noun (plural also-rans)

1A loser in a race or contest, especially by a large margin.
Example sentences
  • This Saturday's game - and we can leave Italy out of any Six Nations equation - is a race for the also-rans, the contest for an elliptical wooden utensil, the championship's booby prize.
  • Armstrong has reduced the Tour into a race for also-rans.
  • Don't decry their initial efforts, but in the end they were reduced to the role of also-rans in a two-horse race.
1.1An undistinguished or unsuccessful person or thing.
Example sentences
  • Even when he excelled at his favourite hobby of banger racing he was an also-ran, a man with a reputation of being shy, introverted and insignificant.
  • Once the undisputed premier provider of law enforcement handguns to America, the company found itself an also-ran in a few short years.
  • We started imitating rather than innovating and wound up making faux American also-rans.


Late 19th century: originally applied to racehorses that did not finish in the first three.

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