the 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
No - too hot" Actor Nigel Havers "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat" Actress Lily Tomlin "I have decided to take a break from all things social media.
Goodness knows how long the rat race (the rather limp pun intended) has managed to survive against fearful odds.
The Rat Race was organised by Rat Race Events in partnership with Stockton Council.
In 2017, 10,000 people a day around the globe made the decision to quit the rat race and retire.
Understanding the concept and learning it creatively has lost tragically to our education system, and the reason behind it is the rat race. I want to suggest every school to take an initiative to arrange three hours of activity class every week for students.
Visitors will be invited to sit at the desk and be part of the Rat Race photograph.
Returning for the fourth successive year, up to 1,000 runners are expected to take part in the Rat Race Adventure Sports event on the weekend of June 20 and 21, over a mixture of off-road and on-road terrain.
"I absolutely fell in love with this, watching the rat race growing up.
"It is because of the rat race between five clubs that we have to win, we have to be there," the United manager said.
CHOICE Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild Channel 5, 9pm The return of the programme in which Ben Fogle meets people who have moved to inhospitable parts of the world after leaving the rat race behind.
Employees of Speedy Services, in Newton-le-Willows, went through fire, mud and freezing water in the Rat Race Dirty Weekend in Burghley.
More people giving up the rat race and livin' the dream in the most hidden location.
The Rat Race spokesman said: "After that brutal assault on your legs there are plenty more challenges to come before you earn your medal, including an abseil.
No doubt, the barbers are also participating in the rat race for gathering maximum profits prior to the Eid festival.
SAS-STYLE weekend breaks are the latest must-have presents for stressed-out Welsh executives struggling to survive the rat race. They are proving so popular there is a six-month waiting list for the back-to-nature experience.