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disadvantage Line breaks: dis|ad¦van|tage
Pronunciation: /dɪsədˈvɑːntɪdʒ/

Definition of disadvantage in English:


An unfavourable circumstance or condition that reduces the chances of success or effectiveness: a major disadvantage is the limited nature of the data [mass noun]: situations of serious social and economic disadvantage
More example sentences
  • In sum, the main minorities in the U.S. represent significant socioeconomic disadvantage in comparison with the majority.
  • In this way, they may be able to overcome the competitive disadvantage of price.
  • A more serious potential disadvantage is that asset-based loan amounts will fall with a company's fortunes.
drawback, snag, downside, stumbling block, catch, pitfall, fly in the ointment;
weak spot/point, weakness, flaw, defect, fault;
handicap, limitation, trouble, difficulty, problem, complication, liability, nuisance;
hindrance, obstacle, impediment;
British  disbenefit
informal minus, hiccup
British informal spanner in the works
North American informal monkey wrench in the works


[with object] Back to top  
Put in an unfavourable position in relation to someone or something else: the pension scheme tends to disadvantage women
More example sentences
  • Such a deliberate strategy which avoids a direct response to a national paid maternity leave scheme is, in the meantime disadvantaging thousands of working women in Australia who are either pregnant or planning to have a child.
  • Setting a quota for campus universities below demand forces up the Year 12 scores required for entry, disadvantaging those without the home and school background conducive to high marks, principally lower-income people.
  • The studies exhibited common themes of systemic processes of discrimination disadvantaging young girls, the rationalisation process within democratic culture, and ‘racial’ culture.
treat unfavourably, put at a disadvantage, treat harshly/unfairly, put in an unfavourable position, handicap, inflict a handicap on, do a disservice to, be unfair to, wrong


at a disadvantage
In an unfavourable position relative to someone or something else: stringent regulations have put British farmers at a disadvantage
More example sentences
  • They can force an advancing enemy to take an approach or position in which they are at a disadvantage.
  • So in that sense they were at a disadvantage relative to the newcomers who were coming in.
  • He cleverly chose a defensive position, putting the French force at a disadvantage.
to one's disadvantage
So as to cause harm to one’s interests or standing: his poor educational track record inevitably worked to his disadvantage
More example sentences
  • But sometimes, there is no escape and resistance can be… well… to your disadvantage.
  • If it has already been used to your disadvantage, you may be able to get a substantial sum in damages.
  • This is exactly the sort of struggle that is most to their disadvantage, not least because of the four-and five-year election cycles to which the rhythms of their wars are typically tuned.
detriment, prejudice, disservice, harm, damage;
loss, injury, hurt, mischief


Late Middle English: from Old French desavantage, from des- (expressing reversal) + avantage 'advantage'.

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