Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To diminish or destroy the province or effectiveness of; undermine: "This celebration of opulence and wealth and power undercuts the character of the Statue of Liberty” ( Jesse Jackson). "The partnership between the United States and Western Europe is undercut by diverging economic interests” ( Scott Sullivan).
  • transitive v. To sell at a lower price than or to work for lower wages or fees than (a competitor).
  • transitive v. To make a cut under or below.
  • transitive v. To create an overhang by cutting material away from, as in carving.
  • transitive v. Sports To impart backspin to (a ball) by striking downward as well as forward, as in golf and baseball.
  • transitive v. Sports To cut or slice (a ball) with an underarm stroke, as in tennis.
  • intransitive v. To engage in undercutting.
  • n. A cut made in the under part to remove material.
  • n. The material so removed.
  • n. A notch cut in a tree to direct its fall and insure a clean break.
  • n. Chiefly British The tenderloin of beef; the fillet.
  • n. Sports A spin given to a ball opposite to its direction of flight; a backspin.
  • n. Sports A cut or slice imparting such a spin.
  • n. Sports A cut or slice made with an underarm motion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cut made in the lower part of something; the material so removed.
  • n. The notch cut in a tree to direct its fall when being felled.
  • v. To sell (something) at a lower price, or to work for lower wages, than a competitor.
  • v. To create an overhang by cutting away material from underneath.
  • v. To undermine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The lower or under side of a sirloin of beef; the fillet.
  • transitive v. To cut away, as the side of an object, so as to leave an overhanging portion.
  • transitive v. to sell goods or services at a price below that of (the competition or a competitor's price).
  • transitive v. to weaken the effectiveness of; to undermine or sabotage (an activity).
  • transitive v. To cut a notch in one side of (a tree) so as to control the direction in which the tree falls when it is felled.
  • adj. Cut away below.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In golf, to hit (the ball), by baffing or otherwise, so that it rises high in the air, and will not, owing to its spin, roll far after aligbting.
  • In pugilism, to hit with an upward blow.
  • n. In lumbering, the notch cut in a tree to determine the direction in which the tree is to fall and to prevent splitting. Also called notch and nick.
  • n. In mining, the opening along the vein which is made at the bottom of the seam or below the ore-body, so that the shot or blast, or any subsequent cutting, shall cause the ore to fall downward when loosened.
  • n. Any part of the pattern used in foundry-molding which is outside of perpendiculars or normals to the face of the parting plane of the flask, so that, in drawing the pattern the sand would be unavoidably torn away by it, or which prevents the drawing of the pattern altogether. It is the reverse of taper.
  • Descriptive of a bookbinders’ machine that cuts paper from the under side.
  • Noting a photo-engraved plate in which the acid lias bitten too much under the lines.
  • In carving and sculpture, to cut away the material so that the part affected (of the figure or design) stands free of the background, or overhangs: as, the carving of the frieze is much undercut.
  • n. Same as tenderloin.

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

  • n. the material removed by a cut made underneath
  • v. sell cheaper than one's competition
  • v. cut away material from the underside of (an object) so as to leave an overhanging portion in relief
  • v. cut away the underpart of
  • n. a cut made underneath to remove material
  • v. strike (the ball) in golf, tennis, or hockey obliquely downward so as to give a backspin or elevation to the shot
  • v. cut obliquely into (a tree) below the main cut and on the side toward which the tree will fall
  • n. the tender meat of the loin muscle on each side of the vertebral column
  • n. (sports) a stroke that puts reverse spin on the ball
  • n. a notch cut in the trunk of tree in order to determine the direction of its fall

Etymologies

From under- +‎ cut. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Hezbollah and other opposition parties have raised objections, saying the terms undercut Lebanese sovereignty.

    Lebanon to Turn Over Files on Hariri Slaying to U.N. Tribunal

  • This had the effect of staving off the immediate threat, but these actions in the long term undercut support for Reconstruction precisely because they seemed dangerous expansions of executive power.

    Opinion Source: Delivering summaries of editorial and op-ed pieces from major papers by email.

  • This done, they begin what is called the "undercut" -- the cut on that, side toward which the tree is meant to fall; and when they have made a little progress, they, by an ingenious and simple contrivance, fix upon the proper direction of the cut, so as to make the tree fall accurately where they want it.

    Northern California, Oregon, and the Sandwich Islands

  • Mr. Stewart is broodingly, tellingly silent through much of the play, though his sparkling eyes and wry expression undercut the credibility of both the aging man's depression and his class-enemy status.

    Moving but Muddled 'Bingo' in Chichester

  • Carving which is treated in this way, but instead of being "planted" close to the background, is fixed at a little distance from it (as is the case with the lace-like designs fitted into the hollow moldings of fifteenth-century choir-screens), is of quite a different order, although even in this case it can not be strictly described as undercut: it is more nearly akin to pierced fretwork.

    Wood-Carving Design and Workmanship

  • If this is true, than doesn't it kind of undercut the case by the U.S.

    The Morning Plum

  • The prospect of bitter strike action was looming last night over claims that British power station workers are being 'undercut' by Poles prepared to work for £4 an hour less.

    Life in Gordon Brown's Cool Britannia.

  • And I think these people coming out of the woodwork really does kind of undercut Oprah ` s vulnerability on the issue.

    CNN Transcript Jan 8, 2009

  • Mr. Bush pointed to a cease-fire agreement between Russia and Georgia that was negotiated by France and said that recognition of the two countries would "undercut" the cease-fire.

    Bush Asks Russia to Avoid Recognition

  • I guess I kind of undercut myself a little on the challenge because I can't help but study the field guides...

    Exotic Bird Identification

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