Meaning of cut-throat in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkʌtθrəʊt/

See synonyms for cut-throat


  • 1dated A murderer or other violent criminal.

    ‘a disreputable squad of thieves, cut-throats, and deserters’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Amidst a crew of cut-throats and villainous slave traders, Davie feels that all is utterly hopeless and he despairs of his future alone in the world with no hope of return to his beloved homeland.’
    • ‘Not all of Condé's novels push the reader around to the same extent as do the characters of Tituba the witch or Célanire the ‘cut-throat cut-throat.’’
    • ‘However, when Lafitte died, so too died the protection he had provided his homeowner friends from his band of pirate cut-throats.’
    murderer, killer, assassin, butcher, liquidator, executioner
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  • 2

    • ‘After first putting the fish mullet hair style on the map, company owner and hair expert Paul has evolved it into the more slick, stylish look, using his solid silver (Fish-engraved) cut-throat.’
  • 3

    (also cut-throat trout)
    A trout of western North America, with red or orange markings under the jaw.

    Salmo clarki, family Salmonidae

    ‘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.’


  • 1(of a competitive situation or activity) fierce and intense; involving the use of ruthless measures.

    ‘the cut-throat world of fashion’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘In a world marked by specialisations and cut-throat competition, students need to be cautious and decisive in choosing their career and selecting the right course, which will make them thorough professionals.’
    • ‘The industry at this time combined, as one critic put it, ‘the worst features of decaying and restrictive monopoly with the most brutal evils arising from cut-throat competition’.’
    • ‘I do not understand if operators of those stores think that such a business model is the only way to make money and worth risking the inevitable cut-throat competition, certain to result in closure.’
    • ‘As a result, the co-op faces continuous cut-throat competition while trying to maintain a high return for its members.’
    • ‘Companies who hire the owner-drivers take advantage of cut-throat competition in the industry to drive down costs.’
    • ‘For editors facing evaporating budgets and cut-throat competition in oversaturated markets, advance screenings of movies and exclusive access to stars can be mighty tempting.’
    • ‘The banking arm of Scottish Widows will announce a huge 72% rise in pre-tax profits tomorrow and claim it is giving high street rivals a run for their money despite thinning margins and cut-throat competition.’
    • ‘Winans' approach is spiritual to making tough business decisions in the cut-throat entertainment industry.’
    • ‘Its home loans business has also struggled in the face of intense competition in the cut-throat British mortgage market.’
    • ‘Financial services is a cut-throat business, with fierce competition between suppliers, which is often a good thing.’
    • ‘In a environment of cut-throat pricing and fierce editorial battles, the average daily sale has only dropped by less than 250,000 on the same time last year.’
    • ‘If you have a good memory you can probably recall the time when finals were intense, cut-throat affairs.’
    • ‘Some say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but in the cut-throat arena of fashion, sorry, it's not.’
    • ‘Couture fashion courting the cut-throat world of the seedy mafia and danger too.’
    • ‘Graphics card vendors are having a hard time these days distinguishing their wares from the competition in this cut-throat margin market.’
    • ‘Costs, already greatly reduced, must be lowered even further if the airline is to compete in an increasingly cut-throat word.’
    • ‘Instead, it's instilled by coaches in the cut-throat world of Russian competitive skating.’
    ruthless, merciless, pitiless, unfeeling, relentless, aggressive
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    1. 1.1(of a person) using ruthless methods in a competitive situation.
      ‘the greedy cut-throat manufacturers he worked for’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now, you might not want a cutthroat reporter like Miller as a next door neighbor.’
      • ‘Not even his roguish, cutthroat crew of miscreants would do that.’
      • ‘But at least the hippies had the good sense to get haircuts and buy suits before turning themselves into cutthroat capitalists.’
      • ‘London is most often portrayed as full of suspicious, cutthroat characters, men like Jaggers and his clients.’
      • ‘First, she had to ride through the slums, where most of the cutthroat murderers and thieves lurked in the shadows.’
      • ‘By no short system of events, I joined part in a clan of cutthroat thieves.’
      • ‘The award proved that the women of cross country can be cutthroat competitors without being cutthroat people.’
      • ‘The professor said they were some of the most cutthroat students he'd ever met.’
      • ‘Troubles begin when cutthroat urban developers set their sights on Calvin's business.’
      • ‘This brings the unwanted attentions of local despot Hatcher who, with his ragbag of cut-throat henchmen, sets out to destroy the heroes and nab the treasure for himself.’
      • ‘My response to them is the same as it is to all readers, whether they be cut-throat nay-sayers or members of my lick-spittle sycophantry: To Hell with the lot of you!’
      ruthless, cruel, harsh, merciless, pitiless, unpitying, remorseless, cold-blooded, hard-hearted, hard, callous, brutal, brutish, severe, rigorous, draconian, unrelenting, unforgiving, unsparing, barbarous, savage, inhumane, inhuman, stony, heartless, cut-throat, unsympathetic, unfeeling, illiberal, uncharitable, inflexible, intolerant, rigid, stern, strict, punishing, sadistic
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  • 2Denoting a form of whist (or other card game normally for four) played by three players.

    ‘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.’