cut·​throat | \ ˈkət-ˌthrōt How to pronounce cutthroat (audio) \

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

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of cutthroat in a Sentence

Noun while traveling the ancient Silk Road, traders were constant prey to cutthroats and thieves Adjective cutthroat business practices intended to drive competitors out of business
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s just the current cost of staying competitive in the cutthroat SEC. Tom Green |, al, "The cost of a coaching change in the cutthroat SEC," 4 Apr. 2021 After all, her tenacity as a Latina in a cutthroat and uneven field merits huge commendation. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "‘Godzilla vs. Kong’s’ Eiza González is a star in Mexico. Why do so few know her in the U.S.?," 2 Apr. 2021 In Disney+'s revival, the Mighty Ducks have become a cutthroat hockey team that's less about the fun of the game and more about winning the game – no matter the cost. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch this Weekend: The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers skates onto Disney+," 26 Mar. 2021 The Lahontan cutthroat historically migrated long distances to spawning sites; USFWS officials say the fish reportedly moved about 120 miles between Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Alan Clemons, Outdoor Life, "Fly Angler Catches (and Releases) Rare, Massive Trout in Nevada," 11 Mar. 2021 But coronavirus made the rivalry less cutthroat because patents were not a paramount concern. Walter Isaacson, STAT, "CRISPR rivals put patents aside to help in fight against Covid-19," 5 Mar. 2021 Keeping your word is even more important for business relationships, especially in the entertainment industry, which has a reputation for being cutthroat. Michael Gruen, Rolling Stone, "Why Keeping Your Word Is the Best Way to Show Respect," 2 Mar. 2021 This time around, the East High Wildcats will face off against their North High rivals in a cutthroat student theater competition while gearing up for their spring musical Beauty and the Beast. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' Season 2 Finally Has a Release Date," 24 Feb. 2021 Part of this was the environment that Margo and Clancy DuBos fostered, one of cutthroat Halloween costume contests and Secret Santas whose gifts often outdid anything received in the stockings back home. Mark Karcher,, "Reflections on 40 years: thanks for the memories (we can remember)," 8 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Use both book and street smarts to navigate through the cutthroat competition of the business world. Vahe Tirakyan, Forbes, "Ten Things You Can’t Learn In Business School," 21 Apr. 2021 In regulatory and legal proposals, Beijing telegraphed its desire to bring to heel an industry characterized by cutthroat competition and huge influence over sensitive political issues like labor and data security. New York Times, "A Global Tipping Point for Reining In Tech Has Arrived," 20 Apr. 2021 For years, money manager Pacific Investment Management Co. wore its cutthroat reputation as a badge of honor. Justin Baer, WSJ, "Bond Giant Pimco Attempts to Change Its Culture," 17 Apr. 2021 Fraser isn't alone in promoting self-care in the cutthroat world of Wall Street. Allison Morrow, CNN, "Work-life balance on Wall Street looks like free Pelotons and Zoom-free Fridays," 23 Mar. 2021 After all, the people who aspire to the top spot self-selected into a career track with long hours, intense stress and often cutthroat competition. Mark Murphy, Forbes, "Managerial Stress Can Literally Take Years Off Your Life," 19 Mar. 2021 Mean Girls and Bring It On offered a junior version of the same: cutthroat high-school girls for whom short skirts and lipstick were weapons of war. Judy Berman, Time, "From Britney to Buffy, We're Suddenly Rethinking Postfeminist Pop Culture—and Nothing Could Be Healthier," 2 Mar. 2021 The case centered on alleged payouts of millions to a former wife of late President Lansana Conte, and exposed the shady and complex world of deal-making and cutthroat competition in the lucrative mining business. Jamey Keaten, Star Tribune, "Israeli diamond tycoon convicted in Swiss corruption trial," 22 Jan. 2021 But analysts remain confident that Target will remain one of a handful of winners in the cutthroat world of retail. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Vaccines and stimulus are a powerful cocktail for the US recovery," 3 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for cutthroat

Time Traveler

The first known use of cutthroat was in 1535

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Statistics for cutthroat

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cutthroat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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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