Share this entry

cutthroat Syllabification: cut·throat
Pronunciation: /ˈkətTHrōt/

Definition of cutthroat in English:


1 dated A murderer or other violent criminal.
Example sentences
  • And of course the fact that there are elections in the offing would have absolutely nothing to do with the timing of Michael's pronouncements that the group is a bunch of murderers, gangsters, cut-throats and crooks.
  • Yet he ‘and his crew of financial cut-throats can loot the bank and rob 1260 depositors and you can send him to the penitentiary for only three years.’
  • With his crew of cut-throats, Sinbad attacked defenceless merchant ships and did what pirates do, thankfully omitted here because this is a U-certificate cartoon from DreamWorks.
2 (also cutthroat trout) A trout of western North America, with red or orange markings under the jaw.
  • Salmo clarki, family Salmonidae
Example sentences
  • Rainbow, cut-throat, grayling and brown trout make their home in the Bow River and its network of streams.
  • It is also a spawning and rearing habitat for three threatened salmon species, steelhead and cut-throat trout.


Back to top  
1(Of a competitive situation or activity) fierce and intense; involving the use of ruthless measures: cutthroat competition led to a lot of bankruptcies the cutthroat world of fashion
More example sentences
  • With high profits, more provincial people are digging for money by setting up schools, which leads to a more cut-throat competition, said Xu.
  • Relying only on price will lead to cut-throat competition and disappearing profits.
  • So how does he get the press in the cut-throat competition of London Fashion Week, when there are some 70 designers showing in five days?
ruthless, merciless, fierce, intense, aggressive, dog-eat-dog
vulgar slang ass-kicking
1.1(Of a person) using ruthless methods in a competitive situation: the greedy cutthroat manufacturers he worked for
More example sentences
  • And the leaders of all these religions are corrupt and power-hungry, no matter how much peace and brotherly love they preach, they are cut-throat hypocrites.
  • One can't fault them for thinking that this is the most cutthroat bunch of political operators to soil the Oval Office rugs in a long time.
  • I'd call them a bunch of cutthroat pirates… except that would be awfully unfair to pirates.
1.2 Sports Relating to or being a game or contest in which each of three players scores individually against the other two.
1.3Denoting a form of whist (or other card game normally for four) played by three players.
Example sentences
  • Least is a cut-throat game in which the goal is reversed.
  • The men played loud games of cutthroat euchre or pinochle under the trees while the women luxuriated by doing nothing.

Definition of cutthroat in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly