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

  • n. A murderer, especially one who cuts throats.
  • n. An unprincipled, ruthless person.
  • n. A cutthroat trout.
  • adj. Cruel; murderous.
  • adj. Relentless or merciless in competition: a cutthroat business.
  • adj. Sports & Games Being a form of a game in which each of three or more players acts and scores individually: cutthroat handball; cutthroat bridge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A murderer who slits the throats of his victims.
  • n. An unscrupulous, ruthless or unethical person.
  • adj. Involving the cutting of throats
  • adj. Of or relating to a card game where everyone plays for him or herself rather than playing with a partner.
  • adj. Ruthlessly competitive, dog-eat-dog

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Murderous; cruel; barbarous.
  • adj. Ruthless; conducted without restraint.
  • n. One who cuts throats; a murderer; an assassin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A murderer; an assassin; a ruffian.
  • n. The mustang grape of Texas, Vitis candicans: so called from its acrid taste. Sportsman's Gazetteer.
  • n. A dark lantern in which there is generally horn instead of glass, and so constructed that the light may be completely obscured. Jamieson.
  • n. A piece of ordnance. Jamieson.
  • Murderous; cruel; barbarous.
  • To cut the throat of.

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

  • adj. ruthless in competition
  • n. someone who murders by cutting the victim's throat


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

cut +‎ throat



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  • cutthroat, n., a cutthroat compound

    Brianne Hughes, 6th May 2015:

    Difficulties in Identifying English Cutthroat Compounds

    Cutthroats are agentive and instrumental exocentric verb-noun V+N compounds that name people and objects by describing their function (i.e., a cutthroat is a person who cuts throats). They are composed of a transitive verb and its direct object. Cutthroats are freely productive in Romance languages, which have a V.O. (verb-object) structure and are left-headed. English, which is V.O. and right-headed, has slight native productivity (Clark et al, 1986) that has been amplified and augmented by French borrowings (e.g., coupe-gorge and wardecorps). English has been slowly producing new cutthroats since the 1200s up through 2015, mainly in the form of nonce personal insults. Most cutthroats are obsolete slang, but about 40, including pickpocket, pinchpenny, rotgut and spitfire, are commonly known in Modern English.

    May 27, 2015