Definition of undercut in English:



  • 1Offer goods or services at a lower price than (a competitor)

    ‘these industries have been undercut by more efficient foreign producers’
    • ‘The result is a level playing field for processors; competitors can't undercut prices.’
    • ‘The contractor glanced at the file, read the information he required, undercut his competitors and got the contract.’
    • ‘They undercut their competitors' prices.’
    • ‘During soft markets, insurers tend to undercut prices for competitive reasons.’
    • ‘There is a battle to undercut rivals and yet still make a profit.’
    • ‘Paris can afford to undercut rivals thanks to its excellent infrastructure.’
    • ‘Prices are at rock bottom and supermarkets are undercutting each other in price wars.’
    • ‘They're significantly undercutting the high street, and it has to find a way of responding.’
    • ‘I learned quickly that if I wanted any of this business, I had to undercut everyone else's prices.’
    • ‘So everyone raising prices knows that a competitor could undercut them.’
    • ‘After years of struggling to find cheap, reliable labor in Oklahoma, he had found a way to undercut his competitors without closing up shop and moving overseas.’
    • ‘The company's low cost base allows it to undercut competitors, offer cheaper computers, better service and still have better margins.’
    • ‘A smaller company would have to establish a reputation, and may have to undercut competitors on price, narrowing down its profits, he said.’
    • ‘An ambitious kid could make decent headway if he was willing to smooth-talk lots of retailers and undercut his competitors.’
    • ‘The difference is that in a competitive market place, plumbers and electricians can attempt to undercut their competitors by offering a cheaper service and thus attract more work.’
    • ‘In other words you cannot undercut competitors by holding a ‘January Sale’ because it's unfair competition.’
    • ‘You can patent ways of undercutting your competitor.’
    • ‘Just be careful not to undercut the prices you're charging through your sales reps and distributors.’
    • ‘Essentially, the order prevents retailers undercutting competitors by selling products below cost price.’
    • ‘Now they are being drastically undercut by competition from the rest of Europe and particularly from Asia.’
    charge less than, charge a lower price than, undersell, underbid
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  • 2Cut or wear away the part below or under (something, especially a cliff)

    • ‘Directly opposite, the cliff wall becomes heavily undercut and forms a 5m-long tunnel.’
    • ‘A rockslide from ages past, in conjunction with the undercutting and shovelling actions of a glacier, blocked the normal outflow of Medicine Lake.’
    • ‘Or maybe, because the meandering river had undercut the bank below their old ponderosa, Duke and Doreen sensed that the tree was no longer safe.’
    • ‘My favorite fishing spot is a 12-minute drive away, alongside a commercial gravel pit whose chain-link fence the river is always undercutting and dragging away.’
    • ‘The sides are vertical, and the north edge undercuts the rock face so that those walking downhill toward the pit suddenly find themselves, without warning, looking at a 60-foot vertical drop into space.’
    • ‘Rock transmits sound fairly well and heavy foot vibrations, if the ledge you're stood on is undercut below you, can warn the fish and make them nervous for a while.’
    • ‘Locally, linear grooves have been delicately eroded to form small meanders with undercut walls.’
    • ‘Opposite the cottonwood, on the far bank, is a 40-foot undercut cliff that resembles the prow of a ship.’
    • ‘Like most of Curaçao's coastline, the bay was embraced by low cliffs, undercut to a depth of perhaps 4m by the action of tide and wave.’
    • ‘The reef comprises interconnected blocks of rock which are undercut and full of fissures and cracks, providing concealment for an abundance of marine life.’
    • ‘The important exceptions are those slopes that are undercut by rivers or waves and those that have forms inherited from tectonic processes, for example fault-line scraps, or by structural controls, such as granite domes.’
    • ‘Over millennia a crystal clear creek had undercut the slope to create the hidden canyon.’
    1. 2.1Cut away material to leave (a carved design) in relief.
      • ‘Detailed work is undertaken with chisels and knives, and the layers are pared away, though undercutting for sharp detail will also be done with drills.’
      • ‘The Romans created this sort of glass by undercutting a solid two-layered vase to produce relief decoration.’
  • 3Weaken; undermine.

    ‘the chairman denied his authority was being undercut’
    • ‘In the meantime, we are undercutting his authority.’
    • ‘That pretty thoroughly undercuts any support I might have had for nationalised health care.’
    • ‘This generates new profits for the financial sector but undercuts social solidarity.’
    • ‘Others fear that the museum's financial concerns will undercut its artistic activities.’
    • ‘Individual artists and art publishers have attempted to combat this rising tide of counterfeit art which is flooding the market and undercutting the ability of legitimate artists and publishers to sell their works.’
    • ‘However well-intentioned that allusion might have been, it undercut the work's subtle emotional power.’
    • ‘But almost from the outset, Maskhadov was challenged and deliberately undercut by his ruthless and less principled rivals.’
    • ‘And the way the information dribbled out over time, it undercut the credibility of the system.’
    • ‘As a working journalist and Guild member, I believe her comments undercut the credibility of my profession.’
    • ‘The remainder of the introduction provides capsule summaries of the essays, somewhat under-cutting the need to read the book.’
    • ‘As a result, we avoid a process that undercuts the authority of and respect for the Supreme Court.’
    • ‘The well deserved sleep Brooke didn't receive completely undercut her pleas for an early discharge from the hospital.’
    • ‘However, it is not clear how far this undercuts the arguments for limited liability.’
    • ‘But Hopkins seriously undercuts his efforts in a number of ways.’
    • ‘The fact that I won't have to undercut my sleeping cycle to do extra work is a relief.’
    • ‘He complains of the trials of composition as he composes and constantly undercuts himself in front of the reader.’
    • ‘Or do I withhold punishment or censure and in so doing undercut the teacher's authority?’
    • ‘They are now voicing confidence that the new deadline will be met, but it does undercut the political timeline here.’
    • ‘This development undercut local and regional culture.’
    • ‘Roth has made the strange decision to constantly undercut the dramatic tension inherent within his own story.’
    undermine, weaken, impair, damage, sap, threaten, subvert, sabotage, ruin, disrupt, undo, destabilize, demolish, wreck, destroy, chip away
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  • 4(in sports such as tennis or golf) strike (a ball) with a chopping motion so as to give it backspin.

    • ‘Frequent pop-ups are an indication he has been undercutting the ball.’


  • 1A space formed by the removal or absence of material from the lower part of something, such as a cliff, a coal seam, or part of a carving in relief.

    • ‘It gets better and better, the water cutting deeper into the curved and hollowed rock, with slabby undercuts and terraced waterfalls.’
    • ‘Below water this has cooled and solidified into a reef of billowing pillow lava that splurges across the sand, leaving deep undercuts, caves and arches.’
    • ‘By tying the two together, it was just long enough to assist the top part of the climb until an undercut gave access to a narrow rift and easier descent.’
    • ‘Where land meets sea in the north, the power of the ocean has chiselled undercuts, caves and fissures into the limestone cliff.’
    • ‘Such materials can easily be peeled back in larger sections from the surface of the original model, while preserving the undercuts.’
    • ‘The wall continues sheer to 30m and the first undercut and stalactites appear.’
    • ‘The top of the undercut is formed at the boundary of a large shale band.’
    • ‘Beware of undercut banks caused by the high water.’
    • ‘We would soon join them on a boulder slope which turned into a beautiful undercut cliff.’
    1. 1.1North American A notch cut in a tree trunk to guide its fall when felled.
  • 2British The underside of a sirloin of beef.