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Meaning of also-ran

al•so-ran

Pronunciation: (ôl'sō-ran"), [key]
— n.
    1. (in a race) a contestant who fails to win or to place among the first three finishers.
    2. an athlete or team whose performance in competition is rarely, if ever, a winning or near-winning one.
  1. a person who loses a contest, election, or other competition.
  2. a person who attains little or no success: For every great artist there are a thousand also-rans.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.