from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A narrow two-person crosscut saw.
  • transitive v. To cut with a whipsaw.
  • transitive v. Games To win two bets from (a person) at one time, as in faro.
  • transitive v. To cause to move or alternate rapidly in contrasting directions: "The bond market . . . continues to be whipsawed by fears of rekindled inflationā€ ( Steven E. Levingston).
  • transitive v. To defeat or best in two ways at once.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a crosscut saw operated by two people
  • v. to operate a whipsaw
  • v. to lose potential profit by buying shares just before the price falls, or by selling them just before the price rises
  • v. to defeat someone in two different ways at once

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A saw for dividing timber lengthwise, usually set in a frame, and worked by two persons; also, a fret saw.
  • n. A kind of narrow ripsaw, tapering from butt to point, with hook teeth and averaging from 5 to 71/2 feet in length, used by one or two men.
  • transitive v. To saw with the whipsaw.
  • transitive v. To defeat in, or cause to lose, two different bets at the same turn or in one play, as a player at faro who has made two bets at the same time, one that a card will lose and another that a different card will win; hence, to defeat in spite of every effort.
  • transitive v. to cause to suffer a setback or losses by subjecting to two forces at the same time or in rapid succession.
  • transitive v. to cause to suffer a series of losses in trading when buying and selling at the wrong times in a rapidly fluctuating market; -- especially used when an attempt is made, by selling short, to recover losses from a long purchase in a declining market, and the short sale also results in a loss when the market subsequently rises. Used mostly in the passive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Hence, to beat, defeat, or cause to fail in two opposite ways at the same time. See the extract.
  • To cut with a whip-saw.
  • To have or take the advantage of (an adversary), whatever he does or may be able to do; particularly, in gamblers' slang, to win at faro, at one turn (two bets made by the same person, one of which is played open, the other being coppered); beat (a player) in two ways at once.
  • n. A frame-saw with a narrow blade, used to cut curved kerfs. See cut under saw.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a saw with handles at both ends; intended for use by two people
  • v. saw with a whipsaw
  • v. victimize, especially in gambling or negotiations


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The word 'whipsaw' might be an understatement to describe stock markets on Friday: up big at the start of trading, down big in midday trading and now U.S. indexes are up again - and substantially - in early afternoon trading.

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  • Then the Indian brings over a whipsaw from the cabin at Surprise Lake and makes lumber enough for the box.

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  • This bargaining tactic is called the whipsaw, and B.C. taxpayers are about to feel it in the months ahead.

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  • Until clear answers emerge, expectations center on the kind of whipsaw markets seen in 2010 where the dollar is tossed up and down as investors move their focus between the regions' competing woes.

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  • From a technical standpoint, the market is displaying a specific set of trends and divergences that has often been associated with "whipsaw" reversals.

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  • One reader makes the point that the 'whipsaw' potential is high, and I agree wholeheartedly.

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  • Opponents said changing the law would encourage "whipsaw" strikes, where a walkout against one company can be used to win concessions from several.

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  • King Soopers does not have to lock out its workers if Safeway's employees strike, but has the option to defend against what Safeway officials called "whipsaw" tactics by the union.

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  • And while the jury is still out until the combines begin to roll sometime late this month, the practiced eyes of Kankakee County Corn Growers Association crop scouts Thursday saw a better outcome than what many might have feared from this season's "whipsaw" weather.

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  • Investment pros have identified three broad factors behind this kind of whipsaw trading -- and how you can profit from it.

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  • "A frame-saw with a narrow blade, used to cut curved kerfs. See cut under saw."

    -- from the Century Dictionary

    June 8, 2015

  • "2008 was a crazy, volatile, whipsaw year and looking back, when I was doing the research for this, there were so many things I had forgotten, and I remember thinking: 'Wow, all this happened in one year'," said Vera Chan, senior editor of Yahoo Buzz."

    - Maggie Shiels, 'Britney more popular than Obama', BBC News, 1 Dec 2008.

    December 2, 2008