I can't use the phrase "second-class citizen" either.

This is for a professional blog post, so I'd rather stay away from "red-headed step-child". I can't use "second-class citizen" because I'm talking about a topic with very few similar posts and one related post uses that same term. If I really need to use "second-class citizen" then I'll probably just reference the other post.

EDIT: For those of you who are not familiar with the term, it is meant to be like a child who is cast away and treated differently than the rest of the family. If you watch Game of Thrones, Jon Snow is the red-headed step-child of the Stark family.

I think the term "black sheep" might be similar, but "black sheep" usually means that the person did something to harm his own standing.

EDIT2: I'd rather not get into the details of the blog post because it's pretty niche. Let's just use the following example:

"When you talk about smartphone OS development, iOS and Android are the over-achieving college kids, Windows Phone is the unemployed pot-smoking brother, and Blackberry OS is the red-headed step-child."

I won't actually be mentioning the other competing products, but I just wanted to illustrate what the term would be calling out.


Most of these give general feelings which may (or may not) suggest a satisfactory term.
Some may fit as-is. One can hope :-).

  • persona non grata.
  • throwback
  • standout
  • developmental backwater (good for software)
  • odd man out
  • knife at a gun fight (getting desperate)
  • black sheep of the family
  • " ... C and all its bastard children" - Jerry Pournelle in full flight.
  • evolutionary throwback.
  • As useful as xxx on a yyy
  • Like a xxx in yyy (eg snowball / hell, ...)
  • 1
    I like "persona non grata" best so far. "bastard children" might be too colorful for a corporate blog post. Thanks! – JackAce Jan 24 '13 at 2:38


  • Pariah
    • An outcast.
    • A demographic group, species, or community that is generally despised.
    • Someone in exile.
    • A person who is rejected (from society or home).
  • Outcast: One that has been excluded from a society or system, a pariah.
  • Condemned: Having received a curse to be doomed to suffer eternally.
  • Also-ran: A person or animal who competed in a race but did not win.
  • Has-been: A person, especially one formerly popular or influential, who continues in their field after their popularity or effectiveness has peaked and is now in decline.
  • Third wheel
    • A person or thing that serves no useful purpose.
    • An unwanted third party accompanying two people on a date.
  • Spare wheel: An extra wheel held in reserve in most cars, to be used in an emergency.
  • Fifth wheel: Anything superfluous or unnecessary.

For a reasonably contemporary literary reference, how about "the orphan nephew living in the cupboard under the stairs"?

  • 1
    Much like Cinderella, then? – user867 Jan 24 '13 at 3:58
  • @user867 Ah. Now we're talking about Mythic Archetypes; but that would be Literary Criticism (or possibly Structural Anthropology), and therefore Off Topic. :) – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 24 '13 at 4:03

The Cinderella, particularly if the relative lack of respect is unwarranted. (And who by coincidence, is also a step child).

  • 4
    This is good, but it connotes that the entity will eventually triumph, like a "Cinderella Story". – JackAce Jan 24 '13 at 2:40
  • @JackAce I don't think it so much connotes that, as that they might deserve to, as per what I say about "particularly if the relative lack of respect is unwarranted". – Jon Hanna Jan 27 '13 at 18:26

Another expression that could be used is "Belonging to the 'island of misfit toys'."

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