Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In a betting sport such as horse racing or boxing, the competitor for whom the odds are lowest is known as the favourite.

Can the other competitors be termed something in contrast?

share|improve this question
1  
Underdog, outsider, challenger, long shot. –  Ben Jul 21 at 11:05
    
But in fairness, in boxing (if you mean just one bout, not a series), there's only one other in "the field", which could affect the answer. –  Joe Blow Jul 21 at 17:40

6 Answers 6

up vote 24 down vote accepted

If one competitor is the favorite, the other is the underdog.

share|improve this answer
6  
That's not for just anyone who's not a favourite, though, but one who is specifically expected not to have a chance of winning. In a field of eight race horses, one might be the favourite, one or two might be underdogs—and the rest are neither. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 21 at 7:51
    
I was under the impression that underdog referred to the least favourite in a competition as @JanusBahsJacquet says, but Wiktionary bears out the definition of any competitor that is not the favourite. In any case, Dan Bron's answer certainly fits the case I was primarily thinking of, as in a one-on-one competition. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/underdog#Noun –  william.berg Jul 21 at 9:45
    
@william.berg Where? It says specifically there that the underdog is “a competitor thought unlikely to win” (my emphasis). That excludes the middle of the field who aren't favourites to win, but won't shock if they do, either. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 21 at 9:48
2  
you've misspelled favourite. –  Jodrell Jul 21 at 10:55
2  
@Jodrell: favorite is a perfectly correct spelling. –  Marthaª Jul 22 at 3:34

Competitors below the favourite or favourites are the field. Least-favoured competitors, for whom long odds are quoted by bookmakers, are long shots, and a winner who was given little or no chance of winning is a dark horse.

share|improve this answer
2  
Actually, I think dark horse simply means it is less known to the bettors. Usually that also implies it has long odds but it's not always the case - only that it is an unknown entity. –  congusbongus Jul 21 at 8:03
    
+1 for long shot –  bib Jul 21 at 11:51
2  
@congusbongus, That's my understanding as well. The dark horse is the wild card, that nobody (or at least, few people) are certain about. define:"dark horse" on Google suggests that the dark horse is both little-known and ends up as the winner. –  Brian S Jul 21 at 15:16
1  
Upvoted for all information provided except "dark horse" for the reasons already given by congusbongus above. –  evilspoons Jul 21 at 15:44
1  
This is the correct answer, and it's sad that people voted for a word that is so obviously not what was asked. –  Joe Blow Jul 21 at 17:39

Sticking with betting terminology you could also say "outsider" if the odds against are high.

Or "less fancied" runner.

share|improve this answer
4  
Also common in betting terminology is the long shot. And a really long odds outsider might be called a rank outsider. I don't know why someone downvoted this well-focussed answer. –  FumbleFingers Jul 20 at 21:09
    
@FumbleFingers - Thanks. As the DV was simultaneous with the removal of another (negatively voted) answer on this question that I had commented on I suspect it was not given for any particularly good/relevant motivation! –  Martin Smith Jul 20 at 21:20
    
The word you are looking for is Outsider or outsiders. Dark horse is one that's not obviously towards the front end of the betting or coming in under the radar but many think has the potential to surprise. –  user3708184 Jul 21 at 4:10

The contender

Especially in human one-on-one sports, such as boxing.

The field

Or the rest of the field, can be used to describe the rest of the non-favourite horses in a horse race.

share|improve this answer

First things to come to mind are cannon fodder and also rans.

Also rans implies the race is over, but I've heard it used to describe competitors that are not expected to place.

Cannon fodder is probably a bit more mean spirited, but gives a sense of providing enough members in the race, but of lesser quality.

share|improve this answer

Not a contender or long shot are terms used to describe fringe competitors.

To be in the middle of the pack is another term for competitors who are not the favorite to win.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.