bushwhack

verb
bush·​whack | \ ˈbu̇sh-ˌhwak How to pronounce bushwhack (audio) , -ˌwak\
bushwhacked; bushwhacking; bushwhacks

Definition of bushwhack

1 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
2 I
a : 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
b : 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

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Other Words from bushwhack

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 Even if a suggestive cluster of Maya community buildings and a fort popped up on a future lidar map, archaeologists would still have to bushwhack there to excavate them. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "In search of the ‘white Jaguar’: Archaeologists travel deep into the jungle to find a lost Maya city," 5 Sep. 2019 People hardly blinked when regulators at ADEM – armed with talking points from polluters -- practically bushwhacked a visitor who wanted to question challenges to EPA cleanup of north Birmingham and Tarrant. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al.com, "Flaccid ADEM is the picture of phallic failure," 24 June 2019 Flatlanders can surge up above 10,000 feet and get bushwhacked by hypoxia, where their bodies haven’t had time to acclimate to the lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Everything you need to know to climb Mount Shasta ahead of a sensational summer season," 7 June 2019 People hardly blinked when regulators at ADEM – armed with talking points from polluters -- practically bushwhacked a visitor who wanted to question challenges to EPA cleanup of north Birmingham and Tarrant. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al.com, "Flaccid ADEM is the picture of phallic failure," 24 June 2019 Flatlanders can surge up above 10,000 feet and get bushwhacked by hypoxia, where their bodies haven’t had time to acclimate to the lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Everything you need to know to climb Mount Shasta ahead of a sensational summer season," 7 June 2019 Be prepared for bushwhacking, road walking, scrambling, and various networks of unsigned forest roads through grizzly country—this makes navigation tools, bear spray, and mountaineering skills necessities. Jonathan Olivier, Outside Online, "The Best Thru-Hikes You've Never Heard Of," 14 May 2018 When bushwhacking or rock scrambling, pants work best. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "The Best Summer Hiking Pants for Men," 28 June 2018 The rock plate stood up to hours of bushwhacking with a 60-pound pack in Colorado’s Park Range, and the fat lugs on the Vibram outsole gave us confidence on slick roots and gravelly paths. Outside Online, "The Best Trail Shoes of 2018," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bushwhack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bushwhack

1866, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bushwhack

back-formation from bushwhacker

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Statistics for bushwhack

Last Updated

21 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for bushwhack

The first known use of bushwhack was in 1866

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More Definitions for bushwhack

bushwhack

verb
How to pronounce bushwhack (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bushwhack

: to clear a path through thick woods by cutting down bushes and low tree branches
: to attack (someone) suddenly

More from Merriam-Webster on bushwhack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bushwhack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bushwhack

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