any exhausting, unremitting, and usually competitive activity or routine, especially a pressured urban working life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for leisure, contemplation, etc.
a continual routine of hectic competitive activity: working in the City is a real rat race
also rat race, “competitive struggle,” 1934, from rat (n.) + race (n.1). Rat-run is from 1870 in a literal sense.
A job, situation, milieu, etc, marked by confusion and stress; futile and enervating hyperactivity; the everyday world of toil and struggle; the routine workaday: the rat-race of ordinary social gatherings
[1939+; found by 1937 as the name of a dance]
Fierce competition to maintain or improve one’s position in the workplace or social life. For example, You may not realize what a rat race it is to get research grants. This term presumably alludes to the rat’s desperate struggle for survival. [ ; first half of 1900s ]
noun 1. the practice of driving through residential side streets to avoid congested main roads
[rat] /ræt/ noun 1. any of several long-tailed rodents of the family Muridae, of the genus Rattus and related genera, distinguished from the mouse by being larger. 2. any of various similar or related animals. 3. Slang. a scoundrel. 4. Slang. 5. Slang. a person who frequents a specified place: a mall rat; gym rats. […]
[rats-beyn] /ˈrætsˌbeɪn/ noun 1. poison. 2. the trioxide of arsenic. /ˈrætsˌbeɪn/ noun 1. rat poison, esp arsenic oxide n. “rat poison, arsenic,” 1520s; see rat (n.) + bane.
/ˈraːtskɛlər/ noun 1. the cellar of a town hall, esp one used as a beer hall or restaurant 2. any similar establishment, esp in the US