rat race(redirected from a rat-race)
1. A fierce competition for success, wealth, or power. The company's environment felt like a rat race—employees were constantly sabotaging each other to climb the corporate ladder.
2. A busy, tiring routine. Cathy was tired of the rat race and knew she needed to get a less stressful job.
Fig. a fierce struggle for success, especially in one's career or business. Bob got tired of the rat race. He's retired and gone to the country. The money market is a rat race, and many people who work in it get out quickly because of the stress.
Fierce competition to maintain or improve one's position in the workplace or social life. For example, You may not realize what a rat race it is to get research grants. This term presumably alludes to the rat's desperate struggle for survival. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
n. a dull and repetitive situation; a dull and unrewarding job. (see also daily grind.) I am really tired of this rat race—day after day. She dropped out of the rat race and moved to Vermont, where she opened a barber shop.