Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 26, 2019 is:

whipsaw • WIP-saw  • verb

1 : to saw with a whipsaw

2 : to beset or victimize in two opposite ways at once, by two-phase operation, or by the collusive action of two opponents


The community has been growing steadily safer and more prosperous after years of being whipsawed by climbing crime rates and plunging employment.

“In a study that is bound to be controversial—and confusing for consumers who feel whipsawed by conflicting nutrition advice—researchers from seven countries have reported finding few health benefits associated with cutting back on red or processed meats.” — Mari A. Schaefer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 Sept. 2019

Did you know?

A whipsaw is a type of hand-powered saw worked by two people, one of whom stands on or above the log being sawed and the other below it, usually in a pit. The tool dates back to the 15th century, but it was not until the 19th century that anyone thought to use the saw’s name figuratively to describe situations in which someone or something is doubly “cut,” or hurt. Today, the word is commonly used when discussing financial crises or losses as well as ideological changes (as in government policy) that might “cut.”

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