A piece of bad luck or a less favorable position is a disadvantage. If you are trying to run a fifty-yard dash in flip flops when everyone else has on running shoes, you'll be at a disadvantage.

It's harder to be successful when you start with a disadvantage. One kind of disadvantage is being born into a poor family — it's a struggle for a child in poverty to do well in school, attend college, or end up with a well-paying job. A disadvantage is the opposite of an advantage, a lucky or favorable circumstance. At the root of both words is the Old French avant, "at the front."

Definitions of disadvantage

n the quality of having an inferior or less favorable position

advantage, vantage
the quality of having a superior or more favorable position
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unfavorableness, unfavourableness
the quality of not being encouraging or indicative of success
the quality of being limited or restricted
defect, shortcoming
a failing or deficiency
awkwardness, nuisance value
the quality of an embarrassing situation
deprivation, loss
the disadvantage that results from losing something
the quality of being a hindrance
the disadvantage or painful consequences of an action or condition
inferiority, unfavorable position
the quality of being a competitive disadvantage
inexpedience, inexpediency
the quality of being unsuited to the end in view
unprofitability, unprofitableness
the quality of affording no gain or no benefit or no profit
inauspiciousness, unpropitiousness
the quality of suggesting an unsuccessful result
catch, gimmick
a drawback or difficulty that is not readily evident
Type of:
the quality of being something that holds you back

v put at a disadvantage; hinder, harm

“This rule clearly disadvantages me”
disfavor, disfavour
give an advantage to
hamper, handicap, hinder
put at a disadvantage
disadvantage by prejudice
Type of:
discriminate, separate, single out
treat differently on the basis of sex or race

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