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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English disavauntage, from Old French desavantage.



disadvantage (plural disadvantages)

  1. A weakness or undesirable characteristic; a con.
    The disadvantage to owning a food processor is that you have to store it somewhere.
    • 1961 October, “The winter timetables of British Railways: Western Region”, in Trains Illustrated, page 590:
      One of the disadvantages of increasing intermediate stops is that, as we have pointed out already, certain prestige trains have to suffer, notably the "Cornish Riviera Express", slowed 15min to Plymouth by stops at Taunton and Exeter; the "Torbay Express", decelerated 18min by stops at Reading, Westbury, Taunton and Newton Abbot; and the "Bristolian", which adds 14min in order to allow for a Bath stop and an increased load.
  2. A setback or handicap.
    My height is a disadvantage for reaching high shelves.
    • 1774, Edmund Burke, speech to the electors of Bristol:
      I was brought hither under the disadvantage of being unknown, even by sight, to any of you.
    • 1859-1890, John G. Palfrey, History of New England to the Revolutionary War
      Abandoned by their great patron, the faction henceforward acted at disadvantage.
  3. Loss; detriment; hindrance.
    • 1834–1874, George Bancroft, History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent:
      They would throw a construction on his conduct, to his disadvantage before the public.




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disadvantage (third-person singular simple present disadvantages, present participle disadvantaging, simple past and past participle disadvantaged)

  1. (transitive) To place at a disadvantage.
    They fear it might disadvantage honest participants to allow automated entries.
    • 2013 September 28, Kenan Malik, “London Is Special, but Not That Special”, in New York Times, retrieved 28 September 2013:
      For London to have its own exclusive immigration policy would exacerbate the sense that immigration benefits only certain groups and disadvantages the rest. It would entrench the gap between London and the rest of the nation. And it would widen the breach between the public and the elite that has helped fuel anti-immigrant hostility.


Derived terms[edit]