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

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

There’s a lot of things that people talk about Hollywood-cutthroat this and Hollywood-bad that and all the things that are terrible about Hollywood. Mike Cidoni Lennox, The Seattle Times, "James Gunn says he’s a better person after being fired," 20 May 2019 As recently as five years ago, Samsung controlled nearly one-fifth of the cutthroat Chinese market’s smartphone shipments. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, "Samsung Downsizes China Operations With Factory Closure," 13 Dec. 2018 Imagine how this is all going to go at the family dinner table tonight when someone is just trying to pass the salt and talk about the stock market among spouses and cutthroat political foes. Vogue, "Family Dinner at the Conway Household Tonight Is Going to Be Awkward," 20 Mar. 2019 Marc Benecke, the Studio’s original doorman, stood out front to first greet guests with the same cutthroat attitude of the heyday. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Ian Schrager Gives Advice on What Every Party Needs at the Studio 54 Documentary Premiere," 5 Oct. 2018 Incidentally, the sitcom Hot in Cleveland is really about contrast effect: A trio of attractive middle-aged women decamp cutthroat L.A. for the Buckeye State to be thinner, prettier fish in a kinder, gentler pond. Monica Corcoran Harel, Marie Claire, "Scale and the City," 24 Sep. 2013 In New York City’s most cutthroat competition, a group of elite library sorters compete to see who can process books the fastest. Constance Grady, Vox, "Elite library sorters race to process books in cutthroat competition," 17 Nov. 2018 Charging in some cities, like San Diego, has become a cutthroat competition between workers where every last dollar counts. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Charging Electric Scooters Is a Cutthroat Business," 20 May 2018 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

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).


showing courage and determination

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