• synonyms


[verb uhn-der-kuht, uhn-der-kuht; noun, adjective, uhn-der-kuht]
verb (used with object), un·der·cut, un·der·cut·ting.
  1. to cut under or beneath.
  2. to cut away material from so as to leave a portion overhanging, as in carving or sculpture.
  3. to offer goods or services at a lower price or rate than (a competing price or rate) or than that of (a competitor).
  4. to weaken or destroy the impact or effectiveness of; undermine.
  5. Golf. to hit (the ball) so as to cause a backspin.
  6. Tennis. to slice (the ball) using an underhand motion.
  7. to cut (a sound recording) with grooves too shallow or with insufficient lateral motion of the stylus.
  8. Forestry. to cut a notch in (a tree) in order to control the direction in which the tree is to fall.
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verb (used without object), un·der·cut, un·der·cut·ting.
  1. to undercut material, a competitor, a ball, etc.
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  1. a cut or a cutting away underneath.
  2. a notch cut in a tree to determine the direction in which the tree is to fall and to prevent splitting.
  3. Golf. a backspin.
  4. Tennis. a slice or cut made with an underhand motion.
  5. Chiefly British. a tenderloin of beef including the fillet.
  6. Dentistry. a tooth cavity prepared with a wide base for anchoring a filling securely.
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  1. having or resulting from an undercut.
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Origin of undercut

1350–1400; Middle English undercutten to cut down; see under-, cut
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for undercutting


verb (ˌʌndəˈkʌt, ˈʌndəˌkʌt) -cuts, -cutting or -cut
  1. to charge less than (a competitor) in order to obtain trade
  2. to cut away the under part of (something)
  3. sport to hit (a ball) in such a way as to impart backspin
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noun (ˈʌndəˌkʌt)
  1. the act or an instance of cutting underneath
  2. a part that is cut away underneath
  3. a tenderloin of beef, including the fillet
  4. forestry, mainly US and Canadian a notch cut in a tree trunk, to ensure a clean break in felling
  5. sport a stroke that imparts backspin to the ball
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for undercutting



late 14c., "to cut down or off," from under + cut (v.). In the commercial sense of "to sell at lower prices" (or work at lower wages) it is first attested 1884. Figurative sense of "render unstable, undermine" is recorded from 1955, from earlier literal meaning "cut so as to leave the upper portion larger than the lower" (1874).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper