Idiom: Dog Eat Dog

Dog eat dog (idiom)

Try to guess the meaning of the idiom 'dog eat dog' by looking at the picture. It's not a pretty picture is it?   

Dog eat dog:   ruthless competition where people will do anything (even harm other people) to succeed at doing something.


Can you imagine a dog eating another dog? Well, that would be a ruthless, cruel and a very extreme way to survive.

We often say the world is dog eat dog or say something is a dog eat dog world. Dog eat dog is therefore an adjective describing how difficult, mean and competitive something (e.g., the world) can be.

Sentence examples

  • I hated living in New York City because even riding the subway to work in the morning was dog eat dog to get a seat.
  • Are you sure you want to to go into the field of sales and marketing? It's such a dog eat dog profession.
  • I only shop online during Black Friday sales—the shopping malls are dog eat dog and each year a few people are killed while shopping!
  • You might not believe it but you must have a dog eat dog attitude to be successful in beauty pageants.
  • Politics is a dog eat dog world.
  • Actually my daughter loves working on Wall Street—she seems to thrive in a dog eat dog work environment.
  • Trying to find parking in the city is dog eat dog—let's take the bus instead.
  • I played football in both high school and college and it was rough but professional NFL football is a dog eat dog world.
  • We played games at the baby shower and I couldn't believe it was so dog eat dog—everyone wanted to win the prizes.
  • I never thought kindergarten could be a dog eat dog world but the parents of these kids are really aggressive.
  • Good luck working in sales—I hear it's a dog eat dog world.
  • My high school had a real dog eat dog atmosphere—everyone wanted to be Valedictorian so they could get accepted to an Ivy League school.
  • It may seem like child beauty pageants are innocent fun but they're really dog eat dog competitions.
  • Acting is a dog eat dog profession because actors will do anything to get a part.
  • Do you really want to become a professional tennis player? It's a dog eat dog world on the tennis circuit.


  • cutthroat
  • every person for themselves
  • hard as nails
  • have a killer instinct

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