Definition of the rat race noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

 

the rat race

 noun
noun
 
[singular](disapproving)
 
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the way of life of people living and working in a large city where people compete in an aggressive way with each other in order to be more successful, earn more money, etc. It's very easy to get caught up in the rat race. The novel is about a couple who get out of the rat race and buy a farm in Vermont. Topic CollocationsTown and Countrytown live in a city/a town/an urban environment/the suburbs/the (housing) projects/shanty towns/slums/ (informal) a concrete jungle/the ghetto live downtown/in the downtown area/uptown/in midtown (Manhattan) enjoy/like the hectic pace of life/the hustle and bustle of city life cope with the stress/pressures of urban life get caught up in the rat race prefer/seek the anonymity of life in a big city be drawn to/resist the lure of the big city head for the bright lights (of the big city/New York) enjoy/love the vibrant/lively nightlife have/be close to all the amenities be surrounded by towering skyscrapers/soulless suburban sprawl use/travel by/rely on public transportation put up with/get stuck in/sit in massive/huge/heavy/endless/constant traffic jams tackle/ease/reduce/relieve/alleviate the heavy/severe (traffic) congestion be affected by/choked with/damaged by pollutioncountry live in a village/the countryside/an isolated area/a rural backwater/ (informal) the sticks/the boondocks enjoy/like the relaxed/slower pace of life enjoy/love/explore the great outdoors look for/find/get/enjoy a little peace and quiet need/want to get back/closer to nature be surrounded by open/unspoiled/picturesque/peaceful countryside escape/quit/get out of/leave the rat race seek/achieve a better/healthy work-life balance downshift to a less stressful life build/seek/start a new life in the country pull up stakes and move to/head for… create/build/foster a strong sense of community depend on/be employed in/work in agriculture live off/farm/work the land tackle/address the problem of rural/small-town unemployment
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: the rat race