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cutthroat competition

Opposition that is especially fierce, relentless, or merciless. These school election breed some cutthroat competition. The students here will do just about anything to win, even if it means ruining each other's reputations. I never could handle the cutthroat competition of investment banking, so I decided to pursue something a bit more easygoing.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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