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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Though moments of inter- and intra-family tension emerge, there are no cutthroat scenes, no Gordon Ramsay–esque yells, no uncontrollable meltdowns. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Wholesome Fun of Family Food Fight," 21 June 2019 From shaky startup culture to the cutthroat venture capital world, starting a food blog was no picnic. Valentina Palladino And Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Ars picks 11 gifts you can get Dad for Father’s Day 2019," 11 June 2019 While that may seem like a backhanded compliment in the cutthroat world of college football recruiting, Helton’s agreeable personality actually may have helped turn around the fortunes of USC’s football team. Arash Markazi,, "Coliseum must live up to its name and actually recognize our veterans," 10 June 2019 Family Food Fight markets itself not as an educational or cutthroat reality series, but as a show about families, in all their chaotic synergy, working together to win something together. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Wholesome Fun of Family Food Fight," 21 June 2019 These battles for buzzy artworks are typically cutthroat, with both houses offering sweeteners, such as reduced commission fees to sellers, at the expense of profit margins. Anupreeta Das, WSJ, "Sotheby’s to Be Sold, Jolting the Art World," 18 June 2019 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

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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Learn More about cutthroat

Statistics for cutthroat

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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