bush·​whack | \ ˈbu̇sh-ˌ(h)wak How to pronounce bushwhack (audio) \
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 intransitive
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 Cassens and Groot were among scores of volunteer searchers who had bushwhacked for days, looking for the elderly couple. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Hero search dog tries not to let fame of Point Reyes rescue get to his fuzzy head," 26 Feb. 2020 The Bruins and Leafs were tied in wins (24) and the Bolts, seemingly woke now some nine months after getting bushwhacked by the Blue Jackets in the opening round of the playoffs, had 23. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, "The Bruins’ perch atop Atlantic Division standings looks precarious," 5 Jan. 2020 While bushwhacking through hellish yew thickets, the sling kept twisting and finally unscrewed the swivel stud. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "Building the Ultimate Open-Country Hunting Rifle," 14 Feb. 2020 Mine seemed unaffected by a 40-pound guide pack or bushwhacking through alder and willow. Andrew Skurka, Outside Online, "Review: Gore Wear H5 Gore-Tex Shakedry Jacket," 22 Dec. 2019 The Ducks figure to be in an ornery mood after getting bushwhacked Saturday night at Arizona State. oregonlive, "Goe: Oregon State’s defense buckles at WSU, bowl game remains out of reach," 24 Nov. 2019 The green pins are regular ranger patrols—known as Mamba teams—six rangers to a team, bushwhacking through the park on five-day rotations. David Quammen, National Geographic, "To save wildlife, African governments turn to private management," 12 Nov. 2019 The Pac-12′s fading playoff hopes took a body blow last night in the Los Angeles Coliseum when USC bushwhacked Utah, which had been thought to be the conference’s best team. oregonlive, "The Pac-12′s College Football Playoff chances are fading away: Issues & Answers," 21 Sep. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for bushwhack

Time Traveler

The first known use of bushwhack was in 1866

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Statistics for bushwhack

Last Updated

19 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bushwhack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bushwhack. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for bushwhack


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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bushwhack

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