Top 20 Slang For Underdog – Meaning & Usage

The term “underdog” holds a special place in our hearts, representing resilience, determination, and triumph against all odds. In this article, we’ve gathered a collection of the coolest and most empowering slang terms for underdog that will inspire you to keep pushing forward, no matter the challenges you face. Join us as we celebrate the unsung heroes and unsung phrases that embody the spirit of the underdog.

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1. Dark horse

Refers to a person or team that is not expected to win but has the potential to surprise everyone and come out on top. This term is often used in sports or competitive situations.

  • For example, “The dark horse of the tournament, the underdog team shocked everyone by making it to the finals.”
  • In a discussion about politics, someone might say, “He is considered the dark horse candidate, with little chance of winning but still gaining support.”
  • A film critic might describe a little-known movie as “the dark horse of the year,“the dark horse of the year, unexpectedly becoming a box office hit.”

2. David

Refers to the biblical figure David, who defeated the giant Goliath against all odds. This term is used to describe someone who achieves success or victory despite being in a disadvantaged position.

  • For instance, “He pulled off a David and Goliath victory, defeating the reigning champion.”
  • In a discussion about sports, someone might say, “The underdog team played like Davids, taking down the heavily favored opponent.”
  • A motivational speaker might say, “You can be a David in your own life, overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness.”

3. Cinderella

Refers to the fairy tale character Cinderella, who went from being mistreated and overlooked to finding her true love and living happily ever after. This term is used to describe someone or a team that achieves success or recognition despite being underestimated or disregarded.

  • For example, “The Cinderella team made it to the championship game, surprising everyone with their skill.”
  • In a discussion about business, someone might say, “She started her company from scratch and became a Cinderella success story.”
  • A journalist might write, “The Cinderella actress went from obscurity to winning an Academy Award.”

4. Sleeper

Refers to someone or something that is not widely recognized or valued but has the potential to perform exceptionally well. This term is often used in sports or competitions to describe an underdog who is overlooked by others.

  • For instance, “The sleeper team surprised everyone by making it to the playoffs despite being ranked last.”
  • In a discussion about investments, someone might say, “That stock is a sleeper, with the potential for significant growth.”
  • A talent scout might describe a little-known artist as “a sleeper hit waiting to happen.”

5. Long shot

Refers to someone or something that has a very low chance of success or winning. This term is often used to describe underdogs or unlikely candidates in various situations.

  • For example, “The underdog team is a long shot to win the championship, but they’re not giving up.”
  • In a discussion about horse racing, someone might say, “That horse is a long shot, with odds of 50 to 1.”
  • A gambler might take a risk and say, “I’m placing a bet on the long shot, hoping for a big payout.”

6. Underestimated

This term refers to someone or something that is not given enough credit or recognition for their abilities or potential. It implies that they are capable of achieving more than others believe.

  • For example, a coach might say, “Our team is often underestimated, but we always prove them wrong.”
  • A person discussing a talented musician might say, “She is often underestimated because of her young age, but her skills are exceptional.”
  • In a discussion about a sports match, someone might comment, “The underdog team really showed their strength and proved they were underestimated.”

7. The undercat

This term is a play on the phrase “underdog” and specifically refers to a competitor or team that is not as well-known or favored to win. It implies that they are in a similar position to an underdog.

  • For instance, in a soccer tournament, a team that is not expected to win might be called the undercat.
  • A person discussing a reality TV show might say, “I’m rooting for the undercat to come out on top.”
  • In a discussion about a political race, someone might comment, “The undercat candidate is gaining support and surprising everyone.”

8. The underpup

This term combines “underdog” with the word “pup,” which often refers to a young dog. It specifically refers to a young or inexperienced underdog, highlighting their potential for growth and improvement.

  • For example, in a boxing match, a young and relatively unknown boxer might be called the underpup.
  • A person discussing a rookie athlete might say, “He may be the underpup now, but he has a bright future ahead.”
  • In a discussion about a startup company, someone might comment, “They may be the underpup in the industry, but they have innovative ideas and a strong team.”

9. The underwolf

This term combines “underdog” with the word “wolf,” which is often associated with strength and leadership. It specifically refers to a leader or individual who is underestimated but possesses strong qualities or abilities.

  • For instance, in a business setting, a manager who is not initially seen as a strong leader might be called the underwolf.
  • A person discussing a political figure might say, “She may be the underwolf of the party, but she has a loyal following.”
  • In a discussion about a sports team, someone might comment, “The underwolf coach turned the team around and led them to victory.”

10. The little engine that could

This term references the classic children’s story “The Little Engine That Could,” in which a small engine overcomes obstacles with determination and resilience. It specifically refers to an underdog who faces challenges but perseveres and achieves success.

  • For example, in a marathon race, a runner who is not expected to win but continues to push forward might be called the little engine that could.
  • A person discussing a struggling student might say, “She may be facing difficulties now, but she’s the little engine that could.”
  • In a discussion about a startup company, someone might comment, “They started with limited resources, but they’re the little engine that could and are now thriving.”

11. Rebel

A rebel is someone who resists or defies authority or social norms. It is often used to describe someone who goes against the grain or challenges the status quo.

  • For instance, a person might say, “She’s a rebel who always speaks her mind.”
  • In a discussion about politics, someone might refer to a politician as a rebel for their unconventional approach.
  • A song lyric might express, “I’m a rebel, just for kicks now.”

12. Maverick

A maverick is an independent-minded person who doesn’t follow the crowd or conform to traditional rules. It is often used to describe someone who takes unconventional approaches or thinks outside the box.

  • For example, a business leader might be called a maverick for their innovative strategies.
  • In a sports context, a player who takes risks and plays in their own unique style might be called a maverick.
  • A person might say, “He’s a maverick who always finds a way to stand out.”

13. Lone wolf

A lone wolf is someone who prefers to act or work alone, rather than as part of a group. It is often used to describe someone who is independent and self-reliant.

  • For instance, a character in a movie might be referred to as a lone wolf if they operate outside of a team.
  • In a discussion about work styles, someone might say, “I’m more of a lone wolf when it comes to projects.”
  • A person might describe themselves as a lone wolf if they enjoy solitude and independence.
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14. Misfit

A misfit is someone who doesn’t fit in or belong to a particular group or social setting. It is often used to describe someone who is different from others and doesn’t conform to societal norms.

  • For example, a person might say, “He’s a misfit who doesn’t care about fitting in.”
  • In a discussion about high school, someone might recall being labeled a misfit for their unique interests.
  • A character in a book might be described as a misfit if they struggle to find their place in society.

15. Outlaw

An outlaw is someone who disregards or breaks the law. It is often used to describe someone who operates outside of legal boundaries or norms.

  • For instance, a person might say, “He’s an outlaw who lives life on his own terms.”
  • In a discussion about history, someone might mention famous outlaws like Jesse James or Billy the Kid.
  • A song lyric might express, “I’m an outlaw, running from the law.”

16. Minnow

In the context of underdogs, “minnow” refers to a small and insignificant individual or team that is not expected to perform well or succeed. The term is often used in sports or competitive situations.

  • For example, in a basketball game, a commentator might say, “The underdog team is really playing like minnows against the powerhouse.”
  • In a political race, a candidate might be referred to as a minnow if they have little chance of winning.
  • A sports analyst might predict, “The minnows will have a tough time against the top-ranked team.”

17. Upstart

An “upstart” is a person or group that has recently entered a particular field or industry and is trying to challenge or compete with established individuals or organizations. The term often carries a connotation of ambition and a desire to surpass expectations.

  • For instance, in a business context, a competitor might dismiss a new company as an upstart.
  • In a political campaign, a candidate might be labeled as an upstart if they are relatively unknown and challenging established politicians.
  • A sports commentator might say, “The upstart team is giving the reigning champions a run for their money.”

18. Rookie

A “rookie” is a person who is new or inexperienced in a particular field or activity. It is often used in sports to refer to a player in their first season or someone who is new to a team or league.

  • For example, in a baseball game, a commentator might say, “The rookie pitcher is showing great potential.”
  • In a job interview, a candidate might be asked, “Are you a rookie in this industry?”
  • A sports fan might say, “The rookie wide receiver has been making some impressive catches.”

19. Challenger

In the context of underdogs, a “challenger” is a person or team that is competing against a stronger opponent and has the potential to cause an upset or surprise victory. The term is often used in sports or competitive situations.

  • For instance, in a boxing match, the challenger is the person who is challenging the current champion.
  • In a political election, a candidate from an opposing party might be referred to as the challenger.
  • A sports commentator might say, “The challenger team has been training hard and is ready to take on the reigning champions.”

20. Underachiever

An “underachiever” is a person or team that does not meet expectations or perform to their full potential. The term is often used to describe individuals who have the ability to succeed but fall short in their accomplishments.

  • For example, a teacher might say, “The student is an underachiever because they consistently score lower than their potential.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might criticize a player as an underachiever if they are not performing up to their capabilities.
  • A parent might express concern, “I’m worried that my child is becoming an underachiever in school.”