cut·​throat | \ ˈkət-ˌthrōt \

Definition of cutthroat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a cruel unprincipled person



Definition of cutthroat (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : marked by unprincipled practices : ruthless cutthroat competition
3 : characterized by each player playing independently rather than having a permanent partner used especially of partnership games adapted for three players cutthroat bridge

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Synonyms & Antonyms for cutthroat

Synonyms: Noun

assassin, homicide, killer, manslayer, murderer

Synonyms: Adjective

immoral, Machiavellian, unconscionable, unethical, unprincipled, unscrupulous

Antonyms: Adjective

ethical, moral, principled, scrupulous

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Examples of cutthroat in a Sentence


while traveling the ancient Silk Road, traders were constant prey to cutthroats and thieves


cutthroat business practices intended to drive competitors out of business

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There’s a lot of bait in 20 to 40 feet, which has triggered the cutthroat into feeding. sacbee, "Fishing line: Striper action takes off near Colusa and on Feather River | The Sacramento Bee," 23 Apr. 2018 At Crosby’s Lodge, an 11-pound, 12-ounce cutthroat caught by Jim Crayne of Petaluma was checked in. sacbee, "Fishing line: Striper action takes off near Colusa and on Feather River | The Sacramento Bee," 23 Apr. 2018 Brook trout up to 5 pounds, cutthroats approaching 10 pounds and cutthroat-rainbow hybrids that regularly break double figures on the scale all are possibilities. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Hit the road for your next fishing adventure. You might catch something new. | Idaho Statesman," 7 Mar. 2018 Green River, Utah Walk along the canyon to find the perfect spot to cast in along this Blue Ribbon fishery, where anglers frequently reel in brown and rainbow trout, whitefish, and some cutthroats. Stephanie Granada, Sunset, "10 Epic Fishing Trips in the West," 22 Jan. 2018 In the last period of real cavalry warfare, Benya enrolls in a cavalry battalion with a crew of cutthroats and Cossacks who encounter the Italians. New York Times, "Simon Sebag Montefiore: By the Book," 18 Jan. 2018 Below the dam: Cotter Trout Dock reports: light generation; trout good (rainbows and cutthroats) on 1/8 -ounce jigs (white, white/gray or orange/black) and garlic-flavored yellow, sunrise or pink PowerBait. Bruce Janssen, kansascity, "Fishing report for Oct. 26 | The Kansas City Star," 25 Oct. 2017 Rainbow, cutthroats and cutbow trout are all into their spawn, so be cautious of redds while wading on the rivers and creeks. Colorado Parks & Wildlife, The Denver Post, "Colorado fishing report for week of May 21, 2017," 21 May 2017 More than 100 years of isolation in Bear Creek has rendered greenback cutthroats extra susceptible to sickness. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s rarest fish: greenback cutthroats endure electro-zapping, netting and squeezing as biologists try to save state fish from extinction," 13 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In the Wallace family, Trivial Pursuit, skeet shooting, and mini golf matches can be equally cutthroat. Andrew Goldman, Town & Country, "Chris Wallace Is Fox News's Man in the Middle," 17 Nov. 2018 Silicon Valley is known for its cutthroat big business. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A Solo Engineer Challenged a Waymo Self-Driving Patent—And Won," 3 Oct. 2018 Boyd believes his upbringing was key to his success in a notoriously cutthroat business. Amber Kallor, Allure, "How Frankie Boyd Went From Being a M.A.C. Counter Cashier to an A-List Makeup Artist," 30 July 2018 The Estates Klaus Zoch, Capstone Games, 2 - 5 players, 40 - 60 minutes, ages 10+ This cutthroat game about rival construction moguls casts players as property developers competing to build the most profitable towers in the city. Owen Duffy, Ars Technica, "Essen 2018: The best board games from the biggest board game con," 3 Nov. 2018 The production team headed by Paula Wagner announced Wednesday that Andy Karl will step into the role of cutthroat corporate raider Edward, the part originated by Richard Gere in the 1990 movie, when the show moves to New York this summer. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "Broadway Favorite Andy Karl Steps Into 'Pretty Woman'," 23 May 2018 Gabel’s captures the classical music world in all its chaotic cutthroat glory. Caroline Leavitt, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘The Ensemble,’ by Aja Gabel," 17 May 2018 But neither company has put the pieces together as cohesively as Amazon, whose story is told through a spate of Alexa products of good-enough quality that can be easily delivered to your doorstep at cutthroat pricing. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "It’s Amazon’s home, and we’re just living in it," 21 Sep. 2018 This close relationship with Oppo has allowed the company to survive the cutthroat world of launching a new smartphone brand. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "OnePlus announces it’s building a “OnePlus TV”," 17 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cutthroat.' 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 cutthroat


1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for cutthroat

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Time Traveler for cutthroat

The first known use of cutthroat was in 1535

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More Definitions for cutthroat



English Language Learners Definition of cutthroat

—used to describe a situation in which people compete with each other in an unpleasant and often cruel and unfair way

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More from Merriam-Webster on cutthroat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cutthroat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cutthroat

Spanish Central: Translation of cutthroat

Nglish: Translation of cutthroat for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cutthroat

What made you want to look up cutthroat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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