also ran

also-ran

Someone who is unimportant or unsuccessful. The phrase originated in horse racing. That guy is definitely an also-ran—his best days in the league are far behind him.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

also ran

A loser. The term comes from late nineteenth-century horse racing, where it signified a horse that ran a race but failed to win, place, or show. It was later broadened to any kind of competitor—in an election or other contest—who lost.
See also: also, ran
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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