[hwip-saw, wip-]


a saw for two persons, as a pitsaw, used to divide timbers lengthwise.

verb (used with object), whip·sawed, whip·sawed or whip·sawn, whip·saw·ing.

to cut with a whipsaw.
to win two bets from (a person) at one turn or play, as at faro.
to subject to two opposing forces at the same time: The real-estate market has been whipsawed by high interest rates and unemployment.

verb (used without object), whip·sawed, whip·sawed or whip·sawn, whip·saw·ing.

(of a trailer, railroad car, etc.) to swing suddenly to the right or left, as in rounding a sharp curve at high speed.

Origin of whipsaw

First recorded in 1530–40; whip + saw1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for whipsaw

Contemporary Examples of whipsaw

  • The whipsaw can and does go up with almost as much speed as it goes down—recall the snap back from the lows of March of 2009.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Wall Street Is Irrelevant

    Zachary Karabell

    August 5, 2011

Historical Examples of whipsaw

  • And I think he's going to whipsaw the market to a standstill this time, for sure.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The boards we used in the building had to be sawed by us two slaves with a whipsaw.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • We sawed our boards with the whipsaw, and made our shingles out of the ash-trees.

    Mary and I

    Stephen Return Riggs

  • Spread this in as many pool-rooms as you can; get it all down on Whipsaw.

    Young Wallingford

    George Randolph Chester

  • At the quarter, three horses drew into the lead, Whipsaw just behind them.

    Young Wallingford

    George Randolph Chester

British Dictionary definitions for whipsaw



any saw with a flexible blade, such as a bandsaw

verb -saws, -sawing, -sawed, -sawed or -sawn (tr)

to saw with a whipsaw
US to defeat in two ways at once
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