rat race


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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.
See also: race, rat

rat race

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.
See also: race, rat

rat race

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]
See also: race, rat

the rat race

COMMON The rat race is a job or way of life in which people compete aggressively with each other in order to be successful and there is no time to relax or enjoy yourself. I had to get out of the rat race for a while and think about what was important in life. Do you ever fantasize about leaving the rat race behind?
See also: race, rat

the ˈrat race

(disapproving) intense competition for success in jobs, business, etc., typical of a big city: Paul got caught up in the rat race and was never at home.They longed to escape from the rat race and move out of the city.
See also: race, rat

rat race

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.
See also: race, rat

rat race, a

A relentless competition or struggle to advance oneself, or even to keep up. A twentieth-century expression transferring the rodent’s struggle for survival, it originated in America. It appears in Christopher Morley’s Kitty Foyle (1939): “Their own private life gets to be a rat race.”
See also: rat
References in periodicals archive ?
For 11 years now, the CENTRAL Rat Race has been one of the most important initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of mental health in Hong Kong.
It's also easy to see how you get hooked - after one class I'm pondering July's Rat Race.
People in their 30s are cashing in on the equity they have in their homes to leave the rat race and do something more meaningful.
As Lily Tomlin said, "The bad thing about winning the rat race is that you're still a rat
Former high-powered executive Peter McLennon has abandoned the rat race which cost him his health and his marriage.
Domestic Disturbance (Fri/Sat) (12); Rat Race (Fri/Sat)(12);
because many children are tired as a result of the educational rat race, the officials said.
A rat race, they concluded, can be expected in any work group under three conditions: some of the members benefit from the productive activity of other members; the output of the group as a whole can be significantly affected by the work efforts of the individuals it comprises; and members are able to establish work norms.
More than 1,000 people swam, crawled, climbed, jumped and splashed as the exhilarating Rat Race returned.
He also did last year's Rat Race and has been trying to make me do it ever since and he eventually persuaded me.
RAT Race, the organisers of the Men's Health Survival of the Fittest Event and Run 4 Wales, the organisers of the Cardiff Half Marathon, have been working closely with Cardiff City Council to resolve the clash of dates.
His speech included the famous lines: "A rat race is for rats.
ATHOL - Matt Rudnitsky won the Athol-Orange River Rat Race yesterday for a third year in a row, this time with paddling partner Marc Gillespie, but the big winners were all who entered - they enjoyed a perfect day boating their way down the Millers River in the 48th running of the race.
00pm) The story of the 1970s sitcom about a couple who opted out of the rat race and turned their suburban back garden into a smallholding.