- Informal. A person who loses a contest, election, or other competition.
- (In a race) a contestant who fails to win or to place among the first three finishers.
- An athlete or team whose performance in competition is rarely, if ever, a winning or near-winning one.
- Informal. A person who attains little or no success: For every great artist there are a thousand also-rans.
Also-ran was first used in the late 1800s to refer to the losing horse in a horse race. The term was applied more broadly to the loser of any contest shortly thereafter.
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