mid-14c., "a destroyer" (a sense now obsolete), agent noun from lose (v.). Sense of "one who suffers loss" is from 1540s; meaning "horse that loses a race" is from 1902; "convicted criminal" is from 1912; "hapless person, one who habitually fails to win" is by 1955 in U.S. student slang. Bad loser (also poor, sore, etc.) "one who takes defeat with bad grace" is by 1892.
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