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whipsaw

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

Definition of whipsaw

:a narrow pit saw averaging 5 to 7¹/₂ 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

Definition of whipsaw

transitive verb
1 :to saw with a whipsaw
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


Financial Definition of WHIPSAW

whipsaw

What It Is

A trader is said to be "whipsawed" when the price of a security suddenly moves in the opposite direction of a trade that he just placed.

How It Works

For instance, if a trader buys shares of Apple at $250/share, and over the course of the day the price drops to $230, the trader has been whipsawed.

Why It Matters

This usually occurs in a volatile market when traders are subjected to high risk. Short-term traders can be whipsawed often, but long term traders are likely to see better results over a longer time horizon.


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