Definition of whipsaw in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)wipˌsô/


A saw with a narrow blade and a handle at both ends, used typically by two people.
Example sentences
  • The rich dark wood of its walls and floor - all rudely smoothed with the broadaxe and the whip-saw.

verb (past participle whipsawn or whipsawed)

[with object] North American
1Cut with a whipsaw: he was whipsawing lumber
More example sentences
  • They probably won't actually have to whipsaw timbers to make their own boats, but lots of other touches will be as authentic as can be arranged.
  • Many skis were just a whipsawed piece of lumber four to six inches in width with an upturned tip, but they worked well enough to transport the skier to where he wanted to go.
  • The first coal shipped from the valley was loaded into boats made of logs and whipsawed lumber and floated down the river.
1.1 informal Subject to two difficult situations or opposing pressures at the same time: the army has been whipsawed by a shrinking budget and a growing pool of recruits
More example sentences
  • All the mental health care professionals we know have been whipsawed between their ideals for practice - based both on knowledge of patients and on their own self-image - and the narrow demands of managed care.
  • He sees an increasing number of Saudis who are whipsawed between a new materialism and traditional values.
  • All of this has left Black West Palm Beach spinning, whipsawed between runaway private development and an enduring legacy of political neglect.
1.2 informal Compel to do something.
Example sentences
  • Use the Internet to whipsaw suppliers into shape.
  • It is inevitable, however, that the company will use the threat of plant closings to whipsaw workers in different factories to accept further concessions in wages and working conditions.
  • However, suppliers say they are not comfortable with the digital exchanges, believing them to be overrated, and nothing more than a more efficient way for OEMs to whipsaw them for even greater price concessions.
1.3 Stock Market , informal Subject to a double loss, as when buying a security before the price falls and selling before the price rises.
Example sentences
  • But in the past few months the dollar has been confounding forecasters - and whipsawing short-sellers - by rebounding sharply.
  • Consumers are also getting whipsawed by the stock market, which has failed to rally despite Fed rate cuts.
  • Citi's actions weren't illegal, but broke an unwritten understanding not to whipsaw markets or take advantage of the thin summer trading.
1.4Cheat or beat (someone) in two ways at once or by the collusion of two others.
Example sentences
  • ‘AMR has been a master in years past at whipsawing, basically taking different employee groups from different companies and working them against each other for the cheapest price,’ added Higgins.

Words that rhyme with whipsaw


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: whip·saw

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.