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I'm having one of those moments where I can't think of the word.

In some contests where prizes are awarded, there are prizes for first, second, and third place. Then, there is a "____" prize given for last place.

What word am I having difficulty thinking of?

107

I believe you are thinking of a consolation prize. It is a prize for consoling, or comforting, the loser by making him/her feel as if he/she still won something.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Feb 5 '17 at 1:14
130

Merriam-Webster defines "booby prize" as "a prize that is given as a joke to the person who finishes last in a competition".

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    I would say "booby prize" might be appropriate only when the prize is of no value - as you say, a joke. If the question is asking about a legitimate prize for the loser - such as, for example, in CCG tournaments often last place gets a card pack as a prize, a legitimate thing of value - then this isn't appropriate. – Joe Oct 30 '15 at 19:45
  • It may also be less suitable in some situations given that the googling for boobies might get you some NSFW results... – James Snell Nov 1 '15 at 11:54
74

Consider "wooden spoon":

wooden spoon: a booby prize consisting of a spoon made of wood

(Princeton WordNet)

Wikipedia provides more information:

A wooden spoon is a spoon made from wood, usually given to an individual or team which has come last in a competition, but sometimes also to runners-up.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Feb 5 '17 at 1:15
13

How about a "Red Lantern" award, for last place. In Alaska, it's a tradition in mushing, but the same award is given in other situations, such as the Tour de France, where it's the Lanterne Rouge. It comes from the red lantern on the caboose of a train.

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    Please add the dictionary link/support/evidence to 'Red lantern' and 'caboose'. Other than that, your answer looks good. – Jony Agarwal Oct 29 '15 at 7:02
5

In auto-racing, LBF (or last but finished) is common, as apposed to DNF (did not finish).

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5

In yachting the trophy for last to finish is the "Tail End Charlie" award, probably of World War II origin as aviation slang for the last in formation.

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1

The Wall Street Journal keeps track of losers in Olympic competitions. They assign Lead, Tin and Zinc for worst, second worst and third worst performances.

So Lead Prize, might be a good prize for worst place.

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-2

Honorable mention If you win no prize and thus tie for last place, you and every one else in the peloton might get an honorable mention

Edited to note: the proof is in the pudding. Of the answers not disqualified, I have the dubious distinction and consolation prize of negative points. There is apparently no honor in trying, here.

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    "Honourable mentions" are usually for people who didn't quite do well enough to get a prize. it's certainly not the case the everyone who didn't get a prize get an honourable mention. – DJClayworth Oct 29 '15 at 21:01
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    @DavidRicherby -- Quite true. But that does not stop local newspapers from publishing articles that list all of the people from their area who finished the marathon. That seems like an honorable mention to me. – Jasper Oct 29 '15 at 22:56
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    But do they call it an "honourable mention"? If not then it's just us making stuff up. – DJClayworth Oct 30 '15 at 3:25
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    Honorable mentions are for people who almost won, or got first in some category that doesn't have a formal prize. It's definitely not for the person in last. – DCShannon Oct 30 '15 at 3:49
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    @Jasper Sure, there's honour in being mentioned. But it's not an honourable mention unless the words "honourable mention" are used. – David Richerby Oct 30 '15 at 8:12

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