Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Ruthlessly acquisitive or competitive: a dog-eat-dog society.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. harsh and ruthless

Etymologies

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Examples

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  • WORD: dog-eat-dog

    EXAMPLE:

    ' In time, the Navy would compile statistics showing that for a career Navy pilot, i.e., one who intended to keep flying for twenty years as Conrad did, there was a 23 percent probability that he would die in an aircraft accident. This did not even include combat deaths, since the military did not classify death in combat as accidental.

    . . . Sometimes, when the young wife of a fighter pilot would have a little reunion with the girls she went to school with, an odd fact would dawn on her: they have not been going to funerals. And then Jane Conrad would look at Pete . . . Princeton, Class of 1953 . . . Pete had already worn his great dark sepulchral bridge coat more than most boys of the Class of '53 had worn their tuxedos. How many of those happy young men had buried more than a dozen friends, comrades, and co-workers? (Lost through violent death in the execution of everyday duties.) At the time, the 1950's, students from Princeton took great pride in going into what they considered highly competitive, aggressive pursuits, jobs on Wall, on Madison Avenue, and at magazines such as Time and Newsweek. There was much fashionably brutish talk of what "dog-eat-dog" and "cutthroat" competition they found there . . . How many would have gone to work, or stayed at work, on cutthroat Madison Avenue if there had been a 23 percent chance, nearly one chance in four, of dying from it? Gentlemen, we're having this little problem with chronic violent death . . . '

    --- 1979. TOM WOLFE. The Right Stuff. "Chapter 2 -- The Right Stuff." (Pages 17 - 18). Bantam Book edition (ISBN 0-553-27556-9).   
       

    ETYMOLOGY: From the Latin expression"canis canem edit", dog eats dog.

    January 28, 2014