also-ran

(redirected from 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.

also-ran

someone of no significance. (From horse racing, used of a horse that finishes a race but that does not finish among the money winners.) Oh, he's just another also-ran. Ignore the also-rans.

also-ran

Loser, failure, unsuccessful individual, as in Jane feared that her candidate, a terrible speaker, would end up as an also-ran, or As for getting promotions, Mark counted himself among the also-rans. This term comes from racing, where it describes a horse that finishes in fourth place or lower or does not finish a race at all. It first appeared in the 1890s in published racing results, and has since been transferred to losers in any kind of competition, and also more broadly to persons who simply don't do well.