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1

whipsaw

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noun whip·saw \ˈhwip-ˌsȯ, ˈwip-\

Definition of whipsaw

  1. :  a narrow pit saw averaging 5 to 712 feet (1.5 to 2.3 meters) in length



15th Century

First Known Use of whipsaw

15th century


2

whipsaw

verb whip·saw

Definition of whipsaw

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to saw with a whipsaw

  3. 2 :  to beset or victimize in two opposite ways at once, by a two-phase operation, or by the collusive action of two opponents <wage earners were whipsawed by inflation and high taxes>



Did You Know?

A whipsaw is a type of handsaw worked by two people, one of whom stands on or above the log being sawed and the other below it, usually in a pit. The tool dates back to the 15th century, but it was not until the 1870s that anyone thought to use the saw's name figuratively to describe situations in which someone or something is doubly "cut," or hurt. Today, the word is commonly used when discussing financial crises or losses. For example, just recently a chief executive explained in a press statement that his company was "whipsawed in the fourth quarter as key industries were hit by a rapidly deteriorating economy and plunging commodity prices." (The New York Times, January 27, 2009)

1842

First Known Use of whipsaw

1842


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