from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • adjective ruthless in competition
  • noun 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