bush·​whack ˈbu̇sh-ˌ(h)wak How to pronounce bushwhack (audio)
bushwhacked; bushwhacking; bushwhacks
transitive : to attack (someone) by surprise from a hidden place : ambush
… the American banditti robbed trains and bushwhacked stagecoaches and settlers' caravans with equal enthusiasm for fistic violence and gunplay.James Gray
Williams wears a pistol when he goes into the countryside and worries that someone might bushwhack him because he is outspoken.Monty Brower and Bill Shaw
: to travel by foot through uncleared terrain
Other beaches have no access at all; you have to bushwhack to get to them, through terrain infested with rattlesnakes, poison oak, and other hazards.Anthony Brandt
No paths presented themselves and I bushwhacked through numerous fallen and dead trees.Rob Nicholson
… decided it was best to "bushwhack," or wander off the path to get closer to the barred owl and possibly catch a glimpse of it.Eric Koszalka
: to clear a path or advance through thick woods especially by chopping down bushes and low branches
… it would allow them to locate their prey without having to bushwhack through the jungle for days or weeks.Earth Island Journal
bushwhacker noun

Examples of bushwhack in a Sentence

The group bushwhacked through the jungle. They used the controversy as an opportunity to bushwhack their political opponents.
Recent Examples on the Web Another route to the plane is bushwhacking from Duck Lake Trail. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 The wreckage is accessible via an unmaintained trail, so plan to bushwhack to the site. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 Getting to climbing rocks required bushwhacking through dense brush, and some smaller rocks were hard to spot, hidden behind the plant life. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2023 And the Freedmen’s Bureau had radical lawyers who bushwhacked it. Anna Deavere Smith, The Atlantic, 13 Nov. 2023 But bushwhacking with a dog team is full-on collaboration. Blair Braverman, Outside Online, 12 Jan. 2017 This ten-day, roughly 40-mile trek from Telaquana Lake to Upper Twin Lake is only for those willing to bushwhack. Jonathan Olivier, Outside Online, 10 Oct. 2022 Flylow also included an internal beacon pocket in the leg, adding utility for backcountry skiers who already plan to bushwhack through deadfall in search of untouched powder. Nick Cote, Outside Online, 28 Apr. 2019 Your hands need to bushwhack, grip onto sturdy trees, and point out the soaring eagle ahead. Danielle Bernabe, Fortune, 29 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bushwhack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


back-formation from bushwhacker

First Known Use

1866, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bushwhack was in 1866

Dictionary Entries Near bushwhack

Cite this Entry

“Bushwhack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bushwhack. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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