[ hwip-saw, wip- ]

  1. 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.
  1. to cut with a whipsaw.

  2. to win two bets from (a person) at one turn or play, as at faro.

  1. 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.
  1. (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

Words Nearby whipsaw

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use whipsaw in a sentence

  • It also had a vast array of captive food-processing enterprises that easily enabled the New York-based company to undercut its small-town competition and whipsaw grocery wholesalers.

  • 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.

    Wall Street Is Irrelevant | Zachary Karabell | August 5, 2011 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • To get there, towing charges and tolls would eat up your profits, and old Hughson would whipsaw you, anyway.

    The Boss of Wind River | David Goodger (goodger@python.org)
  • Then the Indian brings over a whipsaw from the cabin at Surprise Lake and makes lumber enough for the box.

    Lost Face | Jack London
  • Try as she would, she could not get them out, and then she remembered that Hastings kept a whipsaw in a shed close by.

    Masters of the Wheat-Lands | Harold Bindloss
  • We sawed our boards with the whipsaw, and made our shingles out of the ash-trees.

    Mary and I | Stephen Return Riggs
  • Here, by hand, with an inadequate whipsaw, they sawed the spruce-trunks into lumber.

    The Red One | Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for whipsaw


/ (ˈwɪpˌsɔː) /

  1. any saw with a flexible blade, such as a bandsaw

verb-saws, -sawing, -sawed, -sawed or -sawn (tr)
  1. to saw with a whipsaw

  2. 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