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 playerscutthroat 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 The Bighorn originates in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, one of the most stunning alpine areas in the U.S., home to golden trout and native cutthroats. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "The Godfather of Montana’s Bighorn River," 28 Apr. 2020 Bones is hiding out from his past, which soon begins to materialize in the form of his old companions — wonderful, terrifying cutthroats with names like Black Dog and Pew. Kevin Baker, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: ‘Treasure Island’," 25 Feb. 2020 Smith, a lighthearted, funny character in an industry of hard-charging cutthroats, had retired as chairman of both Warner/Elektra distribution and EMI at the time. Steve Knopper, Billboard, "Joe Smith Appreciation: Late Exec Wasn't Afraid of Going Digital as Labels Winced at CDs, Napster," 12 Dec. 2019 But Bronn points out that all of the great houses in Westeros, including House Lannister, were founded by cutthroats. Carrie Wittmer, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones: How Highgarden Made Bronn Hideously Wealthy," 29 May 2019 Feed the trout at the small Durango Fish Hatchery that raises cutthroats, Browns and rainbows as well as kokanee salmon. Jeanine Barone, The Know, "Ride your bike on these Colorado railroad routes without fear of being run over by a train," 2 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective At first styled as resourceful during a time of poverty, Angel is later drawn to be selfish and cutthroat at the expense of those around her. Maya Phillips, New York Times, "Review: Name-Dropping Harlem in ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’," 26 Feb. 2020 The first season looks at Payton's cutthroat tactics on his quest to become senior class president at his preppy Santa Barbara high school and gain admission to Harvard., "How Bette Midler and Judith Light made ‘The Politician’s’ most surprising episode," 5 Oct. 2019 Running a record label as five young black men is a daunting responsibility in an often-cutthroat and whitewashed music industry. Bianca Gracie, Billboard, "Label Look: How LVRN Is Building a Next Gen Hip-Hop/R&B Roster," 8 Mar. 2019 Rossi, who said that he's heard that the culture at Moderna has mellowed, added that on some level, the cutthroat nature of the place made sense. Robert Kuznia, CNN, "In quest for vaccine, US makes 'big bet' on company with unproven technology," 1 May 2020 Hone your skills by playing against an A.I. opponent or using the in-game tutorial, then connect with a friend online for a cutthroat showdown. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "Twelve Board Games You Can Play With Friends From Afar," 20 Apr. 2020 So how do those who work inside one of the world’s most lucrative and cutthroat businesses continue to thrive from home during a global pandemic? Stacey Wilson Hunt, Fortune, "Hollywood’s Pandemic Diaries: How execs and creatives are working, and coping, at home," 1 Apr. 2020 The competition for ventilators, masks and other vital supplies was cutthroat. Anchorage Daily News, "Confirmed coronavirus cases surpass 1 million worldwide," 2 Apr. 2020 Going head to head with your other roommate in a cutthroat competition of who can fill your day-to-day with more petty inconveniences. Taylor Garron, The New Yorker, "Things Your Roomie Could, in Theory, Be Doing in There," 9 Mar. 2020

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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cutthroat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cutthroat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cutthroat

Spanish Central: Translation of cutthroat

Nglish: Translation of cutthroat for Spanish Speakers

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