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[boo sh-hwak, -wak] /ˈbʊʃˌʰwæk, -ˌwæk/
verb (used without object)
to make one's way through woods by cutting at undergrowth, branches, etc.
to travel through woods.
to pull a boat upstream from on board by grasping bushes, rocks, etc., on the shore.
to fight as a bushwhacker or guerrilla in the bush.
verb (used with object)
to fight as a bushwhacker; ambush.
to defeat, especially by surprise or in an underhanded way:
They bushwhacked our high school team when they used college players.
Origin of bushwhack
1830-40, Americanism; back formation from bushwhacker Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bushwhack
  • Soon we'll stop to bushwhack our way deeper into the forest to hunt for duiker, a type of small antelope.
  • He takes her for a spin in his seaplane, cheekily abandoning her on the other side of the lake to bushwhack home on her own.
  • To view this end of the gorge, one needs to bushwhack a short distance off the road.
  • Hikers are welcome to use any of the roadways open to the public or to bushwhack the lands open to the public.
  • Vegetation on this ridge regrows rapidly so hikers may have to bushwhack.
British Dictionary definitions for bushwhack


(transitive) (US & Canadian, Austral) to ambush
(intransitive) (US & Canadian, Austral) to cut or beat one's way through thick woods
(intransitive) (US & Canadian, Austral) to range or move around in woods or the bush
(intransitive) (US & Canadian) to fight as a guerrilla in wild or uncivilized regions
(intransitive) (NZ) to work in the bush, esp at timber felling
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
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Slang definitions & phrases for bushwhack


  1. To assault, esp from ambush: Two guys jumped out and bushwhacked him
  2. To attack violently: After that speech the President felt bushwhacked

[1860s+; fr the action of cutting the bush in order to get through the forest or along an overgrown stream]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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