cut someone's throat

(redirected from competition)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

cut someone's throat

1. Be the means of someone's ruin, as in Joe would cut her throat if she got in his way. One can also cut one's own throat, that is, spoil one's own chances, as in Alice cut her own throat by her repeated absences. This hyperbolic term alludes to actual murder (or suicide). [c. 1500]
2. cut one another's throats. Engage in destructive competition. For example, With their price war the two stores were cutting each other's throats. This usage gave rise, by 1880, to the idiom cutthroat competition, for vicious competitive practices.
See also: cut, throat
References in classic literature ?
The lower strata of the middle class -- the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants -- all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by the new methods of production.
At this stage the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition.
The growing competition among the bourgeois, and the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of the workers ever more fluctuating.
This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves.
An eager competition exists also between their respective convoys of supplies, which shall first reach its place of rendezvous.
A new species of strategy has sprung out of this hunting and trapping competition.
And while you maunder about restoring competition, the trusts go on destroying you.
One and all you tell the same story,--the passing away of competition and the coming on of combination.
It is combination versus competition, a thousand centuries long struggle, in which competition has always been worsted.
But the trusts themselves arose out of competition," Mr.
The elder De Candolle and Lyell have largely and philosophically shown that all organic beings are exposed to severe competition.
As species of the same genus have usually, though by no means invariably, some similarity in habits and constitution, and always in structure, the struggle will generally be more severe between species of the same genus, when they come into competition with each other, than between species of distinct genera.
A corollary of the highest importance may be deduced from the foregoing remarks, namely, that the structure of every organic being is related, in the most essential yet often hidden manner, to that of all other organic beings, with which it comes into competition for food or residence, or from which it has to escape, or on which it preys.
Hammerdown had the honour to offer for public competition that day it is not our purpose to make mention, save of one only, a little square piano, which came down from the upper regions of the house (the state grand piano having been disposed of previously); this the young lady tried with a rapid and skilful hand (making the officer blush and start again), and for it, when its turn came, her agent began to bid.
At last, when the competition had been prolonged for some time, the elephant captain and lady desisted from the race; and the hammer coming down, the auctioneer said:--"Mr.