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

  • intransitive verb To diminish or destroy the province or effectiveness of; undermine.
  • intransitive verb To sell at a lower price than or to work for lower wages or fees than (a competitor).
  • intransitive verb To make a cut under or below.
  • intransitive verb To create an overhang by cutting material away from, as in carving.
  • intransitive verb To impart backspin to (a ball) by striking downward as well as forward, as in golf and baseball.
  • intransitive verb To cut or slice (a ball) with an underarm stroke, as in tennis.
  • intransitive verb To engage in undercutting.
  • noun A cut made in the under part to remove material.
  • noun The material so removed.
  • noun A notch cut in a tree to direct its fall and insure a clean break.
  • noun Chiefly British The tenderloin of beef; the fillet.
  • noun A spin given to a ball opposite to its direction of flight; a backspin.
  • noun A cut or slice imparting such a spin.
  • noun A cut or slice made with an underarm motion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Same as tenderloin.

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

  • noun The lower or under side of a sirloin of beef; the fillet.
  • adjective Cut away below.
  • transitive verb To cut away, as the side of an object, so as to leave an overhanging portion.
  • transitive verb to sell goods or services at a price below that of (the competition or a competitor's price).
  • transitive verb to weaken the effectiveness of; to undermine or sabotage (an activity).
  • transitive verb (Forestry) 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.

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

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

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

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


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From under- +‎ cut.


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  • 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 2009

  • 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. 2009

  • 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 Charles Nordhoff 1865

  • 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 2010

  • 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 George Jack 1894

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

    The Morning Plum Greg Sargent 2010

  • 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 2009

  • 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.

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  • 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 2008

  • 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 Field Notes 2007


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