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whipsaw

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noun whip·saw \ˈhwip-ˌsȯ, ˈwip-\
Updated on: 26 Jul 2017

Definition of whipsaw

  1. :  a narrow pit saw averaging 5 to 712 feet (1.5 to 2.3 meters) in length

whipsaw was our Word of the Day on 02/19/2009. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of whipsaw from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whipsaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of whipsaw

15th century


2

whipsaw

verb whip·saw

Definition of whipsaw

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to saw with a whipsaw

  3. 2 :  to beset or victimize in two opposite ways at once, by a two-phase operation, or by the collusive action of two opponents wage earners were whipsawed by inflation and high taxes

Recent Examples of whipsaw from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whipsaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

A whipsaw is a type of handsaw worked by two people, one of whom stands on or above the log being sawed and the other below it, usually in a pit. The tool dates back to the 15th century, but it was not until the 1870s that anyone thought to use the saw's name figuratively to describe situations in which someone or something is doubly "cut," or hurt. Today, the word is commonly used when discussing financial crises or losses. For example, just recently a chief executive explained in a press statement that his company was "whipsawed in the fourth quarter as key industries were hit by a rapidly deteriorating economy and plunging commodity prices." (The New York Times, January 27, 2009)

First Known Use of whipsaw

1842


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