Meaning of down and out in English:

down and out

(also down-and-out)


See synonyms for down and out


  • 1(of a person) without money, a job, or a place to live; destitute.

    ‘a novel about being down and out in London’
    • ‘We were not down and out or destitute, which is the picture some people have tried to paint.’
    • ‘It tells the story of a group of ancient, and very well preserved, martial arts masters - we're talking hundreds of years old here - living down and out on the fringes of a modern society that has passed their ways by.’
    • ‘But we should also find the E8 million needed for our down and out homeless in Britain.’
    • ‘He cares about the environment, the work situation, how you make a living, if you're down and out.’
    • ‘But as a whole, these were just people who were out of work and down and out.’
    • ‘‘For someone who is genuinely poor and down and out and doesn't have the ability to repay their debts, there is no change at all,’ he said.’
    • ‘Then there was your courageous expose of local government in Washington, DC, worthy of comparison with the writings of your hero, Orwell, when he was down and out in Paris.’
    • ‘Now I understand that no one would choose to be down and out if they could help it, and I in no way subscribe to the ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ or any other right wing ideology.’
    • ‘The parents, seemingly unconcerned for their daughter's immediate welfare, said they were down and out and could not care for the child.’
    • ‘OK, you know what, they said she was down but she's not down and out.’
    • ‘But please consider: is it really better to take chances when you're down and out, and each failure will really hurt?’
    • ‘They can accept help, too, but it's easiest for them when they feel like they're not completely down and out.’
    • ‘She did as much as she could for other family members that were down and out, helped whoever she could when she could.’
    • ‘I have no problem with giving a kid a sandwich for lunch if it helps his parents get by while they are down and out.’
    • ‘There is nothing caring about kicking those who are already down and out.’
    • ‘Everyone had a place to lay their head, and if you were down and out, there was always someone to share with you.’
    • ‘Brothers Charles and Maxon are both mentally ill and in various degrees of being down and out.’
    • ‘We are seeing, under this legislation, that that person will be down and out.’
    • ‘These weren't people down on their luck, or down and out in London; they were well dressed and outwardly clean and regular looking people in their (I guess) mid thirties.’
    • ‘It's obvious the guy is pretty much down and out but at least he should be allowed one more chance of glory.’
    destitute, poverty-stricken, impoverished, indigent, penniless, insolvent, impecunious, ruined, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
    View synonyms
  • 2(of a boxer) knocked down and unable to continue fighting.

    ‘Vines rose only to be knocked down and out with another Spina right hand at 2: 19 of the fourth round.’
    • ‘It's just that after seeing so many other fighters go down and out from Tito's power, they couldn't believe their eyes when a fighter took them and fought back.’
    • ‘We didn't get to see if Rangel had any skills since the fight ended as soon as Judah connected with a big straight left that put Jaime down and out.’
    • ‘Within less than two minutes Tyson was able to do two things to Spinks no fighter had been able to, put him down and out.’
    • ‘I'm stepping up to a big task ahead of me, so I feel like I've gotta put him down and out.’
    1. 2.1(of a competitor) facing certain defeat.
      ‘behind, away from home, and down to 14 men, Kelso ought to have been down and out, but Jeffrey rallied his men’
      • ‘The Noyna side looked down and out at 49-6 but skipper Lutz made 44 to put them back into the game.’
      • ‘Division One strugglers Odsal Sedbergh looked to be down and out when they trailed visitors Dodworth 34-0 after an hour's play.’
      • ‘He had given the Latics a half time lead then they looked down and out after being hit by three goals in 12 minutes just after the break.’
      • ‘Mirfield's reply, Jackson apart, was notable for wickets falling steadily to catches from attacking shots, and they seemed down and out at 126 for nine after he had gone through the top order.’
      • ‘He looked down and out when he lost three of the opening eight holes against hot favourite Taylor in the Northern Golf Trainees' League Matchplay Championship final at Durham Forest.’
      • ‘The home side looked down and out before 13-year-old Woodhead, batting at No 10, entered the fray and struck 25 to take them so close to their target.’
      • ‘Bingley, needing 246 to win, seemed down and out at 96 for five, but worked themselves into a position where both captains felt the men from Wagon Lane were favourites.’
      • ‘The newly-crowned M.E.N. Open champion from Mobberley looked down and out after three rounds over the tough French course.’
      • ‘Ackroyd again converted and Halifax were down and out.’
      • ‘They appeared down and out at 143 for three in 16 overs which left them requiring a further 79 from just four overs.’
      • ‘Town looked down and out at half-time when they were trailing 4-to high flying Sherwood Reserves.’
      • ‘He then struck a penalty but Yarnbury were still 15 points adrift at the break, and seemed down and out.’
      • ‘Torquay are currently level with Oldham and just two points behind Blackpool and Port Vale so they are not down and out yet.’
      • ‘The US looked down and out until the news came through from the Korean match to propel them into the second round.’
      • ‘Two matches into the Ashes, England are already down and out with no hope of regaining the coveted urn.’
      • ‘Free State look down and out but a wounded Cheetah is always dangerous and the Sharks will do well to take four points from the match.’
      • ‘The Terrors looked down and out as they entered injury time trailing 2-1, only to score three times with 90 minutes on the clock.’
      • ‘An unknown qualifier, he seemed down and out when he lost the first set in just 19 minutes.’
      • ‘With the players looking down and out this is hardly the ideal time to be going into a local derby against a resurgent Preston side.’
      • ‘Yet to beat Australia at all shows they can do it, and coming back into that series after being down and out shows their bouncebackability.’


  • A person without money, a job, or a place to live.

    ‘a hostel for down-and-outs’
    • ‘These were not artisans as such, it was asserted, but down-and-outs, who lived at the margins, involved in street theft and other criminal activities.’
    • ‘Then he went to live among the down-and-outs in England and in Paris.’
    • ‘It's seen to be the place of the hobos, the real down-and-outs.’
    • ‘Of all the hopeless souls he had ever come across on the streets, of all the down-and-outs and beggars, he had to pick this one to ‘save’.’
    • ‘They were always writing stories about down-and-outs on the beach.’
    • ‘Lots of down-and-outs in Paris sleep over the hot air grates in the street.’
    • ‘The musical is set in Depression-era USA and the costumes and scenery aptly depicted the contrast between soup kitchens of the down-and-outs and the opulent homes and lifestyles of the rich.’
    • ‘He was looking for cigarette butts which he planned to gather for the rest of the down-and-outs to smoke.’
    • ‘It was gloomy, and the skulking figures of the town's down-and-outs gave the whole area a certain not-quite-alive not-quite-dead feel.’
    • ‘He made his name painting brutal depictions of Glaswegian down-and-outs.’
    • ‘Police plan to take weekend binge drinkers and drunken down-and-outs to the facility until they are fit to look after themselves again.’
    • ‘The constabulary responded by disguising two officers as down-and-outs.’
    • ‘Not all that many years ago, only dogs and down-and-outs ate while walking along the street.’
    • ‘You meet every sort of person, from the down-and-outs to the rich and famous.’
    • ‘It's easy to look down on down-and-outs and forget that they are a community in their own right.’
    • ‘The British government built workhouses for the down and out of the time and when the great famine of 1847 took its toll, that was the last straw for the down-trodden Irish poor.’
    • ‘Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has been snapped in Beverly Hills dressed as a down and out and rummaging through the trash.’
    • ‘For its members, church can be spending an afternoon at a Costa Mesa park, where they share lunch and conversation with the down and out.’
    • ‘He said it's common for such items like mowers and quads to be stolen because of their portability but it's a shame it had to happen to someone already in the down and out.’
    • ‘His concern for the poor, his concern for the down and out, his concern for the pain that he's seen in the world is all crystallized when he celebrates Mass.’
    poor person, pauper, indigent, bankrupt, insolvent
    View synonyms