Definition of cut in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kʌt/

verb (cutting; past and past participle cut)

[with object]
1Make an opening, incision, or wound in (something) with a sharp-edged tool or object: he cut his big toe on a sharp stone when fruit is cut open, it goes brown
More example sentences
  • It was when I pulled my hand away when I realized that the ring on his finger had cut my skin and it was now bleeding.
  • He threw a knife and cut a man's ear and cheek with it.
  • During a big home repair job - well, really just changing a light switch - I accidentally cut myself.
gash, slash, lacerate, slit, pierce, penetrate, wound, injure;
scratch, graze, nick, snick, notch, incise, score;
1.1Make a deliberate incision in (one’s flesh), as a symptom of psychological or emotional distress: I started cutting myself when I was about 14 and continued for four years [no object]: I just started high school and I have a lot of self-confidence issues and as a result I started cutting
More example sentences
  • My foster parents would talk about it with me and the pain was so deep inside I just had to do something to feel something else so I began to cut.
  • When I could no longer stand to utter one more word in the world, I began to cut myself.
  • At least she's stopped cutting, but she really needs us more than ever.
2Remove (something) from something larger by using a sharp implement: I cut his photograph out of the paper some prisoners had their right hands cut off
More example sentences
  • We decided to use cutting equipment to cut away the section of the fence that had pierced him so he could be taken to hospital.
  • McKeon's natural stone is cut from limestone beds laid down 250 million years ago.
  • Blocks of ice were cut from ponds and lakes on the estate and stacked between layers of straw.
pick, pluck, gather;
harvest, reap
literary garner, cull
sever, chop off, hack off;
remove, take out, excise, extract;
snip out, clip out
2.1Castrate (an animal, especially a horse).
Example sentences
  • Whether cutting cattle or breaking horses, Adam was undoubtedly the best on the Ponderosa.
  • For more than 50 years, raising, training, cutting and showing horses has been a way of life for him.
  • At two, many stallions are gentle (I had one I kept until he was 5 then had him cut).
2.2 (cut something out) Make something by cutting: I cut out some squares of paper
More example sentences
  • Draw a 4-inch square on the piece of paper, and cut it out.
  • The back panel was easier, since I will be making an acrylic motherboard tray with a square back panel, I just cut it out with my jigsaw.
  • Finally, the individual leaves would be cut out and then ready to hang from the classroom lights, or be displayed on the classroom windows.
2.3 (cut something out) Remove, exclude, or stop eating or doing something undesirable: start today by cutting out fatty foods
More example sentences
  • Why, you try cutting them out, stop eating them, avoiding temptation.
  • Cut down on sodium the week before, then cut it out entirely the last three days before the shoot.
  • The usual migraine triggers were cut out from Harriet's diet: chocolate, cheese, orange juice: but to no avail, says Nicky.
give up, refrain from, abstain from, go without, stop drinking/eating
informal quit, leave off, pack in, lay off, knock off
2.4 (cut something out) North American Separate an animal from the main herd: after the target animal is spotted, the pilot swoops down, cutting it out of the herd
More example sentences
  • Sneaking up on a huge animal, and cutting it out of a herd was always treacherous business.
  • Just as Diego almost cut the cow out of the herd it lashed out kicking furiously and howling.
  • I had been grinning all morning, especially when Mesa and I succeeded in cutting some difficult cows from the herd.
3Divide into pieces with a knife or other sharp implement: cut the beef into thin slices he cut his food up into teeny pieces
More example sentences
  • It's too bad Sara had made Salad for supper because the carrots had to be cut with a knife.
  • At more than six feet tall and weighing in at over 600 pounds, her cake had to be cut with a knife that was a foot and a half long.
  • Matthias chuckles, then takes a knife, and cuts himself some bread.
chop, cut up, slice, dice, cube, mince;
North American  hash
3.1Make divisions in (something): land that has been cut up by streams into forested areas
More example sentences
  • Lafayette street was added years later after the land had been cut up and sold to developers.
  • Heaps of snow had been cut up by vehicles into mushy mud.
  • Even Ethiopia, situated on a high plateau, which was cut up by mountains and vast canyons that made internal travel difficult, was accessible only from an exceptionally hot and unpleasant desert coast.
3.2Separate (something) into two; sever: they cut the rope before he choked
More example sentences
  • That is rewriting history, and cutting your anchor rope, and should be resisted.
  • Some were lost through storms or when their marking float lines were cut by boat props or otherwise severed.
  • An inline fuel separator is installed by cutting the vent hose that runs from the fuel tank to the tank vent on the outside of the boat.
sever, cleave, cut in two
literary rend
archaic sunder
rare dissever
3.3 (cut something down) Cause something to fall by cutting it through at the base: some 24 hectares of trees were cut down
More example sentences
  • So you're saying someone purposely cut this tree down to fall on me, then ran away just a few minutes ago?
  • Whenever a massive sequoia tree or branch threatened to fall on a structure, the tree was cut down.
  • He told the hearing that between 50-100 oak trees on his land would be cut down because of the Bypass project.
fell, chop down, hack down, saw down, hew
3.4 (cut someone down) (Of a weapon, bullet, or disease) kill or injure someone: Barker had been cut down by a sniper’s bullet
More example sentences
  • The woman, whose 17-year-old daughter was cut down by four 9mm bullets fired from a sub-machine gun, also called for an end to the violence associated with gang culture.
  • Just as this associate is about to divulge more, a hail of bullets cuts him down, cutting short the protagonist's convalescence and paving the way for another narrative-driven, gunplay-heavy escapade.
  • If your attempt fails, the enemy will use the weapon he carries to cut you down.
kill, slaughter, dispatch;
shoot down, mow down, gun down;
cut someone off in their prime
informal take out, blow away, snuff out
literary slay
4Make or form (something) by using a sharp tool to remove material: workmen cut a hole in the pipe
More example sentences
  • Eventually, firefighters cut a hole in the main floor to gain access.
  • He looked around, and cut a hole in the corner of the bag with his knife.
  • We proceeded to cut a hole in the fence and climb through.
4.1Make or design (a garment) in a particular way: (as adjective, with submodifier cut) an impeccably cut suit
More example sentences
  • I had a low cut polo shirt along with a denim mini skirt and silver pumps.
  • Sara struggled into tight jeans and a low cut shirt that was also too tight.
  • He also knows how to cut a killer coat, while still remaining true to his vision.
4.2Make (a path, tunnel, or other route) by excavation, digging, or chopping: plans to cut a road through a rainforest [no object]: investigators called for a machete to cut through the bush
More example sentences
  • A new road had been cut through the quarry wall to a tidy waterside quay.
  • He had found the path, cut through the forest, followed the trail of pebbles and watched the signs leading to nowhere.
  • They followed riverbeds and paths cut through the mountainous terrain for the Indonesian army.
4.3Make (a sound recording): quadraphonic LPs had to be cut at a lower volume level than conventional records
More example sentences
  • Many singers and music directors are being roped in to cut the albums for political parties and potential candidates.
  • From what I’ve been able to dig up Turner cut the album in his home studio.
  • The performers posed for a photocall after cutting the single.
record, make a recording of, put on disc/tape, make a tape of, tape-record
informal lay down
5Trim or reduce the length of (grass, hair, etc.) by using a sharp implement: Ted was cutting the lawn cut back all the year’s growth to about four leaves
More example sentences
  • Who cuts their grass or trims their hedge in winter?
  • Her makeup was sensible, and her wheat blond hair was cut very fashionably.
  • She had a good figure, and her light brown hair was cut about neck length, the style in the area.
6Reduce the amount or quantity of: buyers will bargain hard to cut the cost of the house they want I should cut down my sugar intake [no object]: they’ve cut back on costs we’re looking to cut down on the use of chemicals
More example sentences
  • At the moment she is preparing for her tough task by cutting down on the amount of tea she drinks.
  • First, it cuts down on the amount of free time kids spend without supervision.
  • But with nobody coming forward to take over the business, the only way forward seemed to be cutting the opening hours.
reduce, cut back/down on, decrease, lessen, retrench, diminish, trim, prune, slim down, ease up on;
rationalize, downsize, slenderize, economize on;
mark down, discount, lower
informal slash, axe
reduce, cut, cut down, decrease, lessen, retrench, trim, prune, slim down, scale down, salami-slice;
rationalize, downsize, economize on;
pull/draw in one's horns, tighten one's belt
informal slash, axe
6.1Abridge (a text, film, or performance) by removing material: he had to cut unnecessary additions made to the opening scene
More example sentences
  • Scenes with a mechanical shark had to be cut, because it did not look believable enough.
  • You lot do know that one of the key scenes was cut from the theatrical release, right?
  • These excerpts were ultimately cut from the final script.
shorten, abridge, condense, abbreviate, truncate, pare down;
precis, summarize, synopsize;
bowdlerize, expurgate
rare epitomize
delete, remove, take out, edit out, excise, blue-pencil
6.2 Computing Delete (part of a text or other display) so as to insert a copy of it elsewhere. See also cut and paste.
Example sentences
  • Better yet, any automation pattern can be cut, copied and pasted to any other clip or parameter.
  • Pressing the cut or copy button will allow you to cut or copy any highlighted text or image.
  • There are stage-by-stage file copies too, so cutting and pasting from the next stage of the process into your working file makes things a lot simpler.
6.3End or interrupt the provision of (a supply): we resolved to cut oil supplies to territories controlled by the rebels if the pump develops a fault, the electrical supply is immediately cut off
More example sentences
  • It was used by Hitler during World War II when Germany had most of its oil supplies cut.
  • Libya has also supported British policy, cutting off oil supplies to the beleaguered regime.
  • They would react by cutting off oil supplies to the West.
discontinue, break off, suspend, interrupt;
stop, end, put an end to
6.4Switch off (an engine or a light): Niall brought the car to a halt and cut the engine
More example sentences
  • Finally, he cut the two remaining engines, and they rolled silently to a stop.
  • After about 10 minutes, we would gather at the stern, the engines would be cut and the service would commence.
  • He was sixth for a long time, but lost the place after accidentally cutting off the engine whilst trying to de-mist his windscreen.
turn off, switch off, shut off, deactivate
informal kill
6.5North American Absent oneself from (something one should normally attend, especially school): Rodney was cutting class
More example sentences
  • Girls showed up for the photography workshop without fail, even when they cut school.
  • One problem is that after cutting class, the teenager faces powerful temptations to misbehave.
  • I got in trouble for cutting school, staying out late, lying about detention and lying about homework.
7 informal Ignore or refuse to recognize (someone): they cut her in public
More example sentences
  • He simply walked on by, cutting me as dead as a doornail, and shot into his house.
  • She heard me say that Britain should withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights and, since then, has cut me completely.
  • I can't believe you cut me like that!
8(Of a line) cross or intersect (another line): mark the point where the line cuts the vertical axis
More example sentences
  • The line cuts the horizontal axis at 11.4.
  • This line cuts the vertical axis below the horizontal axis.
cross, intersect, bisect;
meet, join
technical decussate
8.1 [no object] (cut across) Pass or traverse, especially so as to shorten one’s route: the following aircraft cut across to join him
More example sentences
  • To calm myself, I'd taken the scenic route and cut across the park to reach school.
  • They stayed away from the trail, cutting across country, following animal tracks where they could to avoid unseen obstacles.
  • Instead of going up to the front gate with the throng, we cut across and joined up with the other guards coming on duty with the brass band.
8.2 [no object] (cut across) Have an effect regardless of (divisions or boundaries between groups): subcultures which cut across national and political boundaries
More example sentences
  • The challenge is to find global solutions for a problem that cuts across national boundaries, cultures, societies and socio - economic strata.
  • Many organisations will have soft power of their own as they attract citizens into coalitions that cut across national boundaries.
  • That this same complaint is made by legions of girls in small towns and suburbs across America is just one of the reasons this film cuts across national and cultural boundaries so well.
transcend, go beyond, rise above
8.3 [no object] (cut along) informal, dated Leave or move hurriedly: you can cut along now
More example sentences
  • Cut along now. There's no time to lose.
  • ‘Cut along now to bed,’ he added gruffly; ‘we'll have to be up like larks to-morrow.’
  • I think we better be cutting along because we gotta be in Chicago by tomorrow night.
9 [no object, often in imperative] Stop filming or recording: ‘Cut’ shouted a voice, followed by ‘Could we do it again, please?’
More example sentences
  • Jon will say his line and we'll cut there. You ready? Let's get in position.
  • The actor waits - in vain - for his director to call out ‘Cut!’
  • As soon as I recovered from my shock, I yelled ‘Cut!’ and rushed up to Ria and Erwin.
9.1 [with adverbial] Move to another shot in a film: cut to a dentist’s surgery
More example sentences
  • For example, if a character is tracking the inward flight of an asteroid on a radar screen, we cut to a shot of the radar screen.
  • Then, in a remarkable shot, we cut to her point of view of Ray sitting in the driver's seat.
  • I really hadn't been paying attention to the news, until they cut to a shot from the news chopper.
9.2 [with object] Make (a film) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order: I like to watch the rushes at home before I start cutting the film
More example sentences
  • As we speak he is cutting his 18th feature film.
  • Frankly, when I was cutting the movie, it was so great to be able to cut from good fun stuff with Eva and Will and then jump to scenes with Kevin and Will.
  • They cut all these pieces together and made it look like a big orgy.
10 [no object] Divide a pack of playing cards by lifting a portion from the top, either to reveal a card at random or to place the top portion under the bottom portion: let’s cut for dealer
More example sentences
  • The pack is shuffled and cut and 16 cards each are dealt singly as before.
  • Players cut for the deal, and whoever cuts the highest card becomes the first dealer.
  • The cards are shuffled, cut, and dealt, usually three at a time, but this is not imperative.
11Strike or kick (a ball) with an abrupt, typically downward motion: Cook cut the ball back to him
More example sentences
  • He rounds the last line of defence and tries to cut the ball across the face of goal.
  • He makes a decent run towards the right of the box, but his attempt at cutting the ball across to his teammate goes badly wrong, like almost everything else he's done today.
  • He was screaming past them, cutting balls in from the corners and was a constant source of creativity and threat.
11.1 Golf Slice (the ball).
Example sentences
  • Under pressure I never hook. I am more prone to cut the ball, if anything.
  • You might end up slicing and cutting the ball all over the place.
  • After the 8th hole, Barney is ahead by 1 stroke, but cuts his ball into the rough on the 9th.
11.2 Cricket Hit (the ball) to the off side with the bat held almost horizontally; play such a stroke against (the bowler).
Example sentences
  • Ahmed, who loves slicing or cutting the ball through the offside, hit 26 off 11 Carruthers deliveries and the duo looked to be taking Baildon to victory.
  • Wayne Phillips cut a ball from spinner Phil Edmonds that hit Allan Lamb's boot as he turned to take evasive action.
  • The elegant right-hander cut the ball beautifully.
11.3 [no object] Cricket (Of the ball) turn sharply on pitching.
Example sentences
  • The one home bright spot came when Simon Katich cut at James Franklin to end the 84-run stand with Martyn.
  • The ball cuts back sharply and misses his bat by miles.
  • You can't depend on the ball cutting in off the pitch.
12Mix (an illegal drug) with another substance: speed cut with rat poison
More example sentences
  • He says drugs are sometimes cut with other substances like talcum powder and the bag could simply have been mislabelled.
  • It was speculated that this novice dealer was cutting the cocaine he sold with amphetamine due to his existing belief that that is what he was supposed to do.
  • They do this by cutting the drugs with other powders, showing no respect for the people who take the drug.
13 (cut it) North American informal Come up to expectations; meet requirements: this CD player doesn’t quite cut it
Shortened form of the idiom cut the mustard
More example sentences
  • Talking with Kate the other week, I was saying I needed to get a mirror as the glass doors on my pantry weren't quite cutting it.
  • For years Leeds were the team who didn't quite cut it against the key rivals, Wigan and Bradford.
  • Unfortunately for him, he'll never know if he is made of the stuff required to cut it living offshore.


1An act of cutting, in particular:
1.1 [in singular] A haircut: his hair was in need of a cut
More example sentences
  • I was first introduced to Reiki some eight years ago, sitting in the hairdressers having a cut and blow dry.
  • A cut, shampoo and set would take about an hour, and a perm would take two hours.
  • I went along to the spacious Studio in Edinburgh for a cut and colour to find out.
haircut, trim, clip, crop
1.2A stroke or blow given by a sharp-edged implement or by a whip or cane: he could skin an animal with a single cut of the knife
More example sentences
  • And people joked about it, used to add up how many cuts of the cane they got as a mark of honour and so on, but I was scared.
  • The log books show that in those days impertinence was punished by one or two cuts with the cane - or a slap with an open hand.
  • Often the horse does his work with panting sides and trembling knees, and not seldom gets a cut of the whip from his rider.
blow, slash, stroke
informal swipe
1.3A wounding remark or act: his unkindest cut at Elizabeth was to call her heartless
More example sentences
  • Sarah was his friend and being unable to help her was the most cruel cut of all.
  • It is true to say that Palace conspired in their own downfall, but it was nevertheless a cruel cut for their coach after he had briefly picked up the scent of his side's first win since their return to the top flight.
insult, slight, affront, slap in the face, jibe, barb, cutting remark, shaft
informal put-down, dig, brush-off
1.4 [often with modifier] A reduction in amount or size: she took a 20% pay cut a cut in interest rates
More example sentences
  • The law ordered striking hospital employees back to work with a 15 per cent pay cut.
  • Soaring debt - which at one stage was predicted to reach £11m - has led to a series of cuts ranging from ward closures to stopping snacks for patients.
  • For a health care system already on life support due to extreme budget cuts, the extraction of $500,000,000 dollars would be the death knell.
reduction, cutback, decrease, retrenchment, lessening, curtailment;
North American  rollback
informal slash
1.5British A power cut: fortunately the cut happened at night and power was quickly restored
More example sentences
  • She said the cut happened shortly after 1pm this afternoon but by 2.30 everyone had been reconnected.
power cut, loss of supply, interruption of supply, breakdown;
1.6An act of cutting part of a book, play, etc. they would not publish the book unless the author was willing to make cuts
More example sentences
  • Since then, they have reached a compromise, wherein the director agreed to make cuts but was allowed several days of reshoots to make the flow to his satisfaction.
  • This is also down to the editing style of Walter Murch who prefers to only make cuts when absolutely necessary.
  • After the film has been edited and completed for release in India it has to go through the censor board, where they can also make cuts.
1.7An immediate transition from one scene to another in a film: instead of hard cuts, we used dissolves to give it a very dreamy character
More example sentences
  • Jewison allows the actors to set the tone through long takes rather than forcing the scene through rapid cuts.
  • Harris' use of unconventional camera angles and quick cuts invigorates these scenes.
  • There aren't many cuts - often a scene will take place before us in one shot, with the camera serenely gliding from one side of a room to the other.
1.8 Golf The halfway point of a golf tournament, where half of the players are eliminated.
Example sentences
  • He didn't have a top 30 finish in any of the four last season and he missed the halfway cut at the Masters last month.
  • Although none of them feature on the leaderboard, it was a productive day for eight of the nine Scots who made the halfway cut.
  • Since making several radical changes to clubs and his mental preparation, he has barely missed a tournament cut.
1.9 Tennis & Cricket A stroke made with an abrupt, typically horizontal or downward action: Kellett was denied a century by edging a cut to wicketkeeper Burns
More example sentences
  • He played some elegant straight bat drives, and he also played some beautiful horizontal bat cuts.
  • Martin seemed in more trouble when he dropped short and Gilchrist aimed a cut.
  • They adapted to the variable bounce, and then launched into the bowlers in a flurry of cuts, sweeps, drives and lofts over the infield.
2A result of cutting something, in particular:
2.1A long, narrow incision in the skin made by something sharp: blood ran from a cut on his jaw
More example sentences
  • Scars on the skin appear when a cut or other injury is healing.
  • In her terror, the woman instinctively put her hand up to protect her neck and suffered a cut from the blade.
  • Vitamin B9 assists the body in forming red blood cells, and vitamin C promotes healthy skin and allows our cuts and scrapes to heal quickly.
gash, slash, laceration, incision, slit, wound, injury;
scratch, graze, nick, snick
2.2A long, narrow opening or incision made in a surface or piece of material: make a single cut along the top of each potato
More example sentences
  • This causes the dough to expand rapidly, the cuts on top opening to give the leaf-shaped scars typical of these loaves.
  • Score the surface with shallow cuts to makes six or eight wedges each.
  • Also, if cuts are present in the tyre wall, the tyre can be weakened, making it dangerous.
2.3A piece of meat cut from a carcass: a good lean cut of beef
More example sentences
  • For example, add lean cuts of red meat or dark poultry to your meals on a regular basis.
  • There is even a full-time butcher, preparing the cuts of meat from carcass.
  • If you've got the time, foods such as eggs, poultry, fish, and lean cuts of red meat are excellent sources of complete protein.
joint, piece, section, bit
2.4 [in singular] informal A share of the profits from something: the directors are demanding their cut
More example sentences
  • More likely they'd drive me to the recycling center to cash in my cans, and then demand a cut of the profit.
  • When Kev and Mike come bearing gifts, they want to flog them down their local, promising the barmaid a cut of the profits.
  • The stars also get a cut of the profits from the show being re-sold and from the sale of videos and DVDs.
share, portion, bit, quota, percentage;
commission, dividend
informal whack, slice of the cake, rake-off, piece of the action
2.5A recording of a piece of music: a cut from his forthcoming album
More example sentences
  • You've mentioned that recording the band's cuts was a stop and start process.
  • Soul Jazz operates both as a label and a retail outlet, sourcing rare reggae and funk cuts and pressing them up on a series of acclaimed albums.
  • This being a tribute record, all the cuts don't work.
2.6A version of a film after editing: the final cut
More example sentences
  • Get the extended director's cut with original German dialogue, if you can.
  • The director's cut of the film, on the other hand, leaves little room for laughter.
  • And all that's left is an early director's cut of a promising movie that desperately needs editing.
2.7A passage cut or dug out, as a railway cutting or a new channel made for a river or other waterway: the cut connected with the Harborough arm of the canal
More example sentences
  • I had assumed that the Broads would be broad - so was unprepared for far too many of the cuts, dykes and rivers having the dimensions and floorplan of supermarket aisles.
  • The aqueduct begins at Chadwell Spring, near Ware in Hertfordshire, and is soon joined by a cut from the River Lea.
  • Operations in the 1940s consisted of a large open pit with smaller cuts and several tunnels.
3 [in singular] The way or style in which something, especially a garment or someone’s hair, is cut: the elegant cut of his dinner jacket
More example sentences
  • Louise designs the cut and style and Rita weaves her hue magic to create movement and pizazz.
  • The secret to fab hair is in the cut, not the containers of setting gunk!
  • All I see is his broad back encased in an expensive black suit, and the elegant cut of his dark hair.
style, design;
tailoring, lines, fit



be cut out for (or to be)

[usually with negative] informal Have exactly the right qualities for a particular role or job: I’m just not cut out to be a policeman
More example sentences
  • Here was proof that blackmail was not something I was cut out for.
  • But not everyone is cut out for that - I certainly am not.
  • I think that insofar as I am a poet, I was cut out to be a poet who needed a lot of time to get started.
be suited, be suitable, be right, be designed, be equipped;
be qualified

a cut above

informal Noticeably superior to: she’s a cut above the rest
More example sentences
  • Against all the evidence, the English still believe themselves a superior race, a cut above the rest of us.
  • England and France, maybe even Wales, are a cut above that.
  • They were dominant literally throughout the field and on the day genuinely looked a cut above all others in the county right now.
superior to, much better than
informal streets ahead of, way ahead of the field/pack

cut and dried

Pronunciation: /ˌkʌt ən ˈdrʌɪd/
[often with negative] (Of a situation) completely settled: the championship is not as cut and dried as everyone thinks
Early 18th century: originally used to distinguish the herbs of herbalists' shops from growing herbs
More example sentences
  • Firstly, it is a new day, the IPCC is a reality today, but I am not sure where opinions are being formed; please accept from us that we have received no firm, cut and dried, clearcut proposals in respect of any change.
  • We are up at Workington next which is going to be a real tough game so it's definitely not cut and dried at the moment.
  • He went on say that where bonus schemes were cut and dried and that was not fair, the situation should be looked at, and that drew more scattered applause.
definite, decided, settled, explicit, specific, precise, unambiguous, clear-cut, unequivocal, black and white, hard and fast

cut and run

informal Make a speedy departure from a difficult situation rather than deal with it: he laughed off suggestions he is ready to cut and run from struggling United
Originally a nautical phrase, meaning 'cut the anchor cable because of some emergency and make sail immediately'
More example sentences
  • But rather than cut and run, what we really need to do is to stay put and reach out.
  • I think if we pull, cut and run today, it's going to be chaos and a civil war.
  • I was ready to cut and run when the tapping on my car window told me it was already too late… he was there.
flee, run, run away, run off, make a run for it, run for it, take flight, be gone, make off, take off, take to one's heels, make a break for it, bolt, beat a (hasty) retreat, make a quick exit, make one's getaway, escape, absent oneself, make oneself scarce, abscond, head for the hills, do a disappearing act
informal beat it, clear off, clear out, vamoose, skedaddle, split, leg it, show a clean pair of heels, turn tail, scram
British informal do a runner, scarper, do a bunk
North American informal light out, bug out, cut out, peel out, take a powder, skidoo
Australian informal go through, shoot through
vulgar slang bugger off
archaic fly

cut and thrust

Pronunciation: /ˌkʌt ən ˈθrʌst/
A lively and competitive atmosphere or environment: the cut and thrust of political debate
More example sentences
  • It's a different matter being able to cope with the cut and thrust of lively House of Commons debate and Prime Minister's Questions - situations in which he has shown little credibility.
  • With the above scoreline there for all to see it is hard to pick out those isolated incidents when the visitors displayed the skills required to survive and thrive in the cut and thrust of this competitive league.
  • I love the fast moving aspect of the marketing business and the competitive cut and thrust of winning new accounts.
5.1A situation or sphere of activity regarded as carried out under adversarial conditions: the ruthless cut and thrust of the business world
Originally a phrase in fencing
More example sentences
  • These qualities are clearly vital when it comes to the cut and thrust of a life-threatening situation.
  • Ah yes, winning, something of which Woosnam has done his share in Ryder Cup play, although not, strangely for one so suited to the cut and thrust of head-to-head combat, in any of his eight singles matches.
  • He loves the cut and thrust, the passion and the no-holds-barred aspect to the contest but he knows that what happens on the pitch often boils over into the stands and onto the streets.

cut both ways

(Of a point or statement) serve both sides of an argument: such a tax is often claimed to encourage saving but the argument can cut both ways
More example sentences
  • Interestingly, the preferred arguments of both sides can cut both ways.
  • The argument cuts both ways - but not according to the RIAA?
  • This cuts both ways: new arguments are never by themselves decisive; but, equally, old presumptions can always be challenged.
6.1(Of an action or process) have both good and bad effects: the triumphs of civilization cut both ways
More example sentences
  • But as recent American sanctions on imported steel from Brazil and Asia indicate, the process does not cut both ways.
  • It is important to emphasize that this suggestion that the quality of the political decision-making process may help the Court's judgement cuts both ways.
  • Ministerial responsibility cuts both ways - a Minister can stand around and take credit and accept kudos for the good things that happen on their watch - ideally as a result of their own decisions and actions.

cut the corner

Take the shortest course by going across and not around a corner.
Example sentences
  • Engineers and boffins have been trying to negotiate traffic flow at intersections for a hundred years - traffic lights, give way signs, those metal axle breakers that stop you from cutting the corner if you see it in time.
  • The built-out kerb encourages downhill vehicles towards the middle of the road, and sooner or later that will coincide with a vehicle in the opposite direction cutting the corner.
  • ‘People are cutting the corner to avoid the cars parked right up to it,’ he said.

cut corners

Do something perfunctorily so as to save time or money: there is always a temptation to cut corners when time is short
More example sentences
  • His staff complains that he is cutting corners to save money by putting ordinary cream cheese in the tiramisu (an Italian dessert).
  • Is the employee rewarded for finding ways to save money by cutting corners?
  • If you try to save money up-front by cutting corners, it can end up costing you much more in the end.
skimp, economize;
pinch pennies

cut the crap

[often in imperative] vulgar slang Get to the point; state the real situation.

cut a dash

British Be stylish or impressive in one’s dress or behaviour: the foreign secretary wanted to cut a dash in Brussels
More example sentences
  • Meeting at Oxford (they all took Firsts), they began to explore their political and personal ‘hinterlands’, cutting a dash in Union debates, arguing over Labour's soul, and soaking up a wider culture.
  • Apart from cutting a dash with the kind of high-tech gear that keeps you looking cool while ensuring your body remains toasty, a few little extras will make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Maybe we really are on the verge of a renaissance, a footballing efflorescence that will see scores of talented Scottish players wooing back fans and cutting a dash on the world stage.

cut someone dead

Completely ignore someone: where he used to cut them dead, he now helps them on with their coats
More example sentences
  • He figures she likes him too; she cuts him dead at school, ignoring him because she doesn't remember that he confessed to liking her.
  • But, let's be honest, when someone cuts you dead for no good reason and then they up and die shortly afterwards, suddenly and without warning, your immediate response to the news is liable to be, well, shall we say, underwhelming?
  • A number of his female stars complained that once the cameras stopped rolling he seemed to cut them dead, so much so that they were mystified when he subsequently offered them another film role.

cut a deal

North American informal Come to an arrangement, especially in business; make a deal: he had gone to the board of directors with his new robot design and cut a deal
More example sentences
  • It's a really blatant case of government cutting a deal for big business against the public interest.
  • And the father pleads guilty to a long sentence, purportedly to help his son, but without actually cutting a deal with prosecutors to help his son, for reasons that are obscure.
  • They fight over their share of the surplus rather than cutting a deal, precisely because they have future bargains in mind (with other parties too).

cut someone down to size

informal Deflate someone’s exaggerated sense of self-worth.
Example sentences
  • We have to cut you down to size, expose your tricks, purge you.
  • It was down to three and the two short stack players weren't long in cutting Gary down to size as his inexperience showed as he let a massive chip lead erode away and eventually disappear all-together.
  • Some people can be twisted and awful and will do anything to cut you down to size because of their own insecurities and their own issues.

cut something down to size

Reduce the size or power of something, for example an organization, which is regarded as having become too large or powerful: the government clearly plans to cut councils down to size
More example sentences
  • The roots of France's secularism lie in the struggle against the overweening power of the Catholic church: how to cut it down to size and assert the primacy - and neutrality - of the state.
  • That means cutting the debt mountain down to size.
  • The work of the Scottish parliament was always going to be a tough sell in screaming headlines, but the syllabically challenged tabloids did their best by promptly cutting this new institution down to size.

cut a —— figure

Present oneself or appear in a particular way: David has cut a dashing figure on the international social scene
More example sentences
  • The bride is beautiful in her white dress, the groom cuts a dashing figure in his tuxedo, most everybody else looks quite fancy.
  • Dressed in a spectacular brown, black and yellow Paisley patterned shirt, Mandela cut a dashing figure next to Sophie who chose a stylish powder-blue dress with low-heeled brown court shoes.
  • Tall, blond and muscular, he cut a dashing figure and was nicknamed ‘Doc’ because of his striking resemblance to the pulp magazine hero Doc Savage.

cut from the same cloth

Of the same nature; similar: don’t assume all women are cut from the same cloth
More example sentences
  • We are cut from the same cloth and while historically we haven't been branded as equals, that known gap between us is closing.
  • Progressive taxation is not cut from the same cloth as those forms of collective action that raise the standards of wealth and happiness for all, which is what the state tries to do by supplying certain standard public
  • The Trust Me formula is basically cut from the same cloth as Big Brother - it's a psychological test which places greater emphasis on one's cunning ability to play the system than a passion for general knowledge.

cut in line

North American Jump the queue.
Example sentences
  • We assume our next guest won't be cutting in line either.
  • Because they were sweet little old ladies, neither me nor the other lady said anything to them about cutting in line.
  • Right now, you might want to be careful about cutting in line in front of a middle-aged woman.

cut it fine

see fine1.

cut it out

[usually in imperative] informal Used to ask someone to stop doing or saying something that is annoying or offensive: I’m sick of that joke; cut it out, can’t you?

cut loose

Distance or free oneself from a person, group, or system: he was a young teenager, already cutting loose from his family
More example sentences
  • With contemporary credit systems cut loose from both traditional inherent constraints and central bank controls, the analytical focus changes.
  • In the attic, he sits on the floor, leaning into the blue light from his laptop and reads the first chapter out loud, a magical, surreal, poetic story, crammed with detail and cut loose from traditional boring fiction.
  • But no other team looks poised to run away with the title, unlike last season when Hartlepool and Rushden raced clear, and the campaign before when Plymouth and Luton cut loose from the chasing pack.
20.1Begin to act without restraint: when Mannion cut loose the home side collapsed to 127 all out
More example sentences
  • Your writer had a great time, attempting to show suitable restraint at lunch but then cutting loose a bit more at dinner.
  • Carreras really cut loose in this repertoire; Heppner is more restrained, and that's valid too, albeit not as exciting.
  • But major travel, that's cutting loose, letting go of all which is familiar and severing links with those fragile concepts of self, personal history, attachments and stability.

cut someone/thing loose (or free)

Free someone or something from something which holds or restricts them: he’d cut loose the horses
More example sentences
  • In 1978, the federal government deregulated the airline industry, cutting it loose from acres of red tape and allowing the free market to determine ticket prices, schedules and service levels.
  • Half of the men crept ahead, cut the horses loose, and threw snowballs to spook them toward the others.
  • Alain cut the horse loose from the reins with his sword.

cut one's losses

Abandon an enterprise or course of action that is clearly going to be unprofitable or unsuccessful before one suffers more loss or harm: an inner voice was urging her to cut her losses and go back to England
More example sentences
  • They simply cannot learn to cut their losses, abandon issues they can't win, and get on with it.
  • Now my parents have had their share of stormy weather and I know that at times they have both wanted to abandon ship, cut their losses and move on but they stuck with it as they promised each other they would do the day they married.
  • Still, if the space station is in such bad shape - much costlier than planned, much later than planned, much smaller than planned - why shouldn't we just cut our losses and abandon it now?

cut the mustard

informal Come up to expectations; reach the required standard: I didn’t cut the mustard as a hockey player
More example sentences
  • It seems pastel-coloured headlines about the perfect cheesecake no longer cut the mustard, and that ‘homemakers’ are better catered to by other publications.
  • Although she believes its cutting the mustard with fewer and fewer in a media that increasingly feels it's been fed one too many ‘historic’ lines by the party.
  • Please allow us some period of adjustment and development, and then, if we are not cutting the mustard, fine, you can dole out pelters.

cut no ice

informal Have no influence or effect: your holier-than-thou attitude cuts no ice with me
More example sentences
  • The comment was made repeatedly how highly the existing staff were thought of but, unfortunately, this cuts no ice with the Post Office bosses who are determined to pursue the sell-off.
  • Reason cuts no ice; economic theory is dismissed; and contrary evidence is ignored.
  • All this rubbish about human relationships cuts no ice with me.

cut someone off (or down) in their prime

Bring someone’s life or career to an abrupt end while they are at the peak of their abilities: she was too young to die: she had been cut off in her prime

cut someone/thing short

Interrupt someone or something; bring an abrupt or premature end to something said or done: Peter cut him short rudely
More example sentences
  • He began to tell me about whirling electrons and orthicon-tubes and other nonsense, but I cut him short with an abrupt wave.
  • They played every game they were asked, and their contracts were cut short.
  • My education was cut short by an unexpected interruption of life.
break off, bring to a premature end, leave unfinished, shorten, truncate, curtail, terminate, end, stop, abort, bring to an untimely end

cut someone to pieces

Kill or severely injure someone: I was nearly cut to pieces by shrapnel
More example sentences
  • Near this spot my friend Kaveh was cut to pieces and killed by a landmine.
  • ‘If it is fair for an Afghan to shoot down a British soldier and cut him to pieces as he lies wounded on the ground’, wrote one such officer, ‘why is it not fair for a British Artilleryman to fire a shell which makes the said native sneeze?’
  • Because even if they had been cut to pieces by American weaponry in the first seconds of the combat, as they were, you don't want to look like you're eager for war and bloodshed.
27.1Totally defeat someone: we were cut to pieces by Rovers
More example sentences
  • It cuts him to pieces and I know he would love to swap places with me.
  • Do not play games with me, lovely, for my ferocious wit and cunning is sure to cut you to pieces!
  • If you play carelessly or without respect the open lines and quick development that White gets for his pawn will cut you to pieces.

cut a (or the) rug

North American informal Dance, especially in an energetic or accomplished way: a place where a fella and a gal can cut a rug
More example sentences
  • If Michelle Eves asks you to dance then you'd better be ready to cut the rug with all your best moves.
  • Bernice does a good job cutting the rug, despite the terrible band.
  • To cut the rug with our kids - or our spouse while kids watch and laugh - is to send a message of love and trust no words can convey.

cut one's teeth

Acquire initial practice or experience of a particular sphere of activity: the brothers cut their professional teeth at Lusardi’s before starting their own restaurant
More example sentences
  • Often from an executive point of view you haven't really cut your teeth until you have experienced it.
  • They want people with a few years' experience who have cut their teeth in a commercial environment and received ongoing training and development from another employer.
  • This is how they cut their teeth, why they were initially hailed as the ‘saviours of rock,’ and while they will always have people leave their shows in complete and utter awe.

cut a tooth

(Of a baby) have a tooth appear through the gum: a feast to celebrate a son cutting his first tooth
More example sentences
  • In further breaking news, he cut a tooth last night.
  • If your baby has cut a tooth, or more than one tooth, you will need to begin cleaning that as well.
  • The last two nights have been worse, because he's cutting a tooth or two and has developed a cold.

cut to the chase

North American informal Come to the point: cut to the chase—what is it you want us to do?
Cut in the sense 'move to another part of the film', expressing the notion of ignoring any preliminaries
More example sentences
  • In a way, I feel like this is cutting to the chase by recording the sounds the world is making in the first place.
  • King cut to the chase: ‘Would he be inclined to watch this program?’
  • I've suggested that we just cut to the chase here - a little sprinkle of water on her forehead, a couple bars hummed, turn out the lights, put her down, then pick her up.

cut up rough

British informal Behave in an aggressive, quarrelsome, or awkward way: he can cut up rough and turn a bit nasty if he’s got a mind to
More example sentences
  • The Lib Dems were cutting up rough over Airborne.
  • Scottish Opera bosses are cutting up rough over that leak about the chorus jobs.
  • ‘Just keep the coffee coming, sweetie, that's all I ask,’ he intones as if he had that moment stepped from the rehearsal stage to cut up rough on some daft young theatrical type.

cut up well

archaic Bequeath a large fortune: the old banker died and cut up prodigiously well

cut your coat according to your cloth

proverb Undertake only what you have the money or ability to do and no more.
Example sentences
  • ‘We cut our coat according to our cloth,’ she says.
  • We have to cut our coat according to our cloth, we have to do the best we can with what we have got.
  • I had, due to the expense involved, to cut my coat according to my cloth and use from time to time what parts I could.

have one's work cut out

see work.

make the cut

[usually with negative] Golf Equal or better a required score, thus avoiding elimination from the last two rounds of a four-round tournament: she shot rounds of 86 and 86 and failed to make the cut
More example sentences
  • ‘And the next day I went out and played the second round and almost made the cut,’ he grins.
  • The event's star attraction world number one Tiger Woods also made the cut, with a two round total of 143.
  • The Scotland World Cup player has now made the cut in his past 18 tournaments and is beginning to attain the air of a serious contender at every event in which he plays.

miss the cut

Golf Fail to equal or better a required score, thus being eliminated from the last two rounds of a four-round tournament: bad driving made him miss the cut by nine strokes
More example sentences
  • The following year, in his second last tournament as an amateur, he missed the cut after rounds of 81 and 75.
  • She hits her first three tee shots out of bounds, lips out half her par putts, and shoots 82 for her first round, then backs that up with a 75 and misses the cut by a baker's dozen.
  • I had played only two tournaments on U.S. soil and missed the cut in both, which of course didn't get me much attention.

Phrasal verbs


cut in

1Interrupt someone while they are speaking: ‘It’s urgent,’ Raoul cut in
More example sentences
  • I began reading off of the script, before she cut in.
  • Alison opened her mouth to begin explaining, but Lily cut in.
  • The other woman began to protest, but the girl cut in.
interrupt, butt in, break in, interject, interpose, chime in
British informal chip in
2Pull in too closely in front of another vehicle after having overtaken it: she cut in on a station wagon, forcing the driver to brake
More example sentences
  • Imagine cruising along at 200 km/h plus when a vehicle travelling at 160 cuts in front of you.
  • Half-listening, I braked as a decidedly more upmarket vehicle cut in front of the van, giving the driver the finger as he peeled off into the surge of traffic up ahead.
  • They became upset when the two military policemen who were riding a motorcycle ignored all the vehicles lined up for gas and cut in front of their car.
3(Of a motor or other mechanical device) begin operating, especially when triggered automatically by an electrical signal: emergency generators cut in
More example sentences
  • Nerves began cutting in and he shuffled his feet.
  • Moving back up the other side of the finger to about 15m, the fun began as the current cut in and we headed rapidly over a seascape of hard and soft coral outcrops.
  • So this morning, my high-speed Internet connection suddenly begins cutting in and out, mostly out.
4 dated Interrupt a dancing couple to take over from one partner: Saturday night she goes to an informal dance where men are rare and any girl may cut in
More example sentences
  • Isn't it customary to ask the person's dancing partner before cutting in?
  • He eventually came to his senses and cut in between my dancing partner and I.
  • During slow song number four a red-haired girl asked to cut in.

cut someone in

informal Include someone in a deal and give them a share of the profits: he didn’t mind my having a racket, he was just narked that I hadn’t cut him in
More example sentences
  • I'm guessing the real violation here was not cutting him in for his fair share of the action.
  • So, should anyone have any ingenious ideas, please let us know and we may, in our unsurpassed magnanimity, decide to cut you in on the deal.
  • We did think of offering to cut you in on the deal as well, but, well, you're already so damnably wealthy that any gains from out little scheme would hardly be worth your while.

cut into

Interrupt the course of: Victoria’s words cut into her thoughts
More example sentences
  • They cut into course tutor time and need costly equipment and materials to make them of value to the young people.
  • It must be the margaritas, but I think it also has something to do with cutting into Krum's writing time.
  • I'll probably take it again someday, but not when it is cutting into my walking and socializing time.

cut someone off

1Interrupt someone while they are speaking: he cut her off and went on to another subject
More example sentences
  • And I will be insufferable here and cut you off, take a break.
  • ‘Wait a minute,’ Matt cut her off, sounding serious now.
  • The question that I would raise, and I've got to cut you off because we need to get a break, is how much the media should go along with it.
1.1Interrupt someone during a telephone call by breaking the connection: I listened to pre-recorded messages for twenty-three minutes before being cut off
More example sentences
  • After three minutes with the automated operator the Yorkshire Post was cut off at 11.17 am yesterday with the message: ‘I'm sorry our operators are busy.’
  • Now, I am anxious not to cut you off, but from time to time I may interrupt you to try to make sure that I grasp the point that you are advancing and, in effect, play it back to you to make sure that I understand what you are trying to tell me.
  • The machine cut her off then (thank god) the whirring stopped.
2Prevent someone from receiving or being provided with something, especially power or water: consumers may be cut off for non-payment
More example sentences
  • Some residents are illegally reconnecting their water supplies after they were cut off by the council due to non-payment, municipal finance director Brian Shepherd said in a report tabled before a council meeting.
  • The Psychic Friends Network just cut me off for nonpayment.
  • Hall has been living without electricity, gas or water in the flat for nearly a week after they were cut off on the orders of police.
discontinue, break off, disconnect, interrupt, suspend;
stop, end, bring to an end
3Reject someone as one’s heir; disinherit someone: Gabrielle’s family cut her off without a penny
More example sentences
  • So after the Gulf War they cut him off without a penny.
  • Now you fix this situation and you do it quickly or so help me, I'll cut you off without a penny.
  • Well maybe I wouldn't have to work here if you hadn't cut me off without a penny!
disinherit, disown, repudiate, reject, have nothing more to do with, have done with, wash one's hands of
4Prevent someone from having access to somewhere or someone; isolate someone from something they previously had connections with: the couple were cut off by a fast-moving tide
More example sentences
  • Traffic along 16th Ave was very backed up and congested as access to Memorial Drive was cut off.
  • But this isolation cuts them off from social networks and cultural capital that are indispensable for survival and success at all levels of the workplace.
  • Although he had stepped down from the editorship, his supervisors at the Smithsonian took away his office, made him turn in his keys, and cut him off from access to the collections he needs for his research.
isolate, separate, keep apart, keep away;
seclude, closet, cloister, sequester

cut something off

Block the usual means of access to a place: the caves were cut off from the outside world by a landslide
More example sentences
  • There are only a handful of Canadian waters closed to navigation by the Canadian Coast Guard, and one of those is Niagara Falls, Williams said, pointing out that it is mainly for public safety reasons that access is cut off.
  • Ask the wrong question or write something the White House doesn't like, and your access is cut off.
  • In addition to the ecological damage, all traffic to and from the ports have been blocked, essentially cutting the big apple off from the rest of the world.

cut out

1(Of a motor or engine) suddenly stop operating: both the lifeboat’s engines cut out at times as they hit the seabed
More example sentences
  • Dilger said that he could remember little of the accident, only that his engine had cut out and that the brakes had failed.
  • Most probably because of electrical problems, the engine then started cutting out.
  • Now, what happens when the engine cuts out at altitude?
stop working, cease to function, stop, fail, give out;
break down, malfunction
informal die, give up the ghost, conk out, go on the blink, go kaput
British informal pack up
2North American informal (Of a person) leave quickly, especially so as to avoid a boring or awkward situation: she was working her way toward the door and when no one was watching, she cut out
More example sentences
  • Bush is cutting out of the summit early, and he's made clear that he expects us all to get along under an American vision of how we should go forward.

cut someone out

Exclude someone: his mother cut him out of her will
More example sentences
  • He refused to provide his name but reassured me that Lara had been cut out of the film.
  • This photo may undercut her assertion that she was cut out of the loop.
  • Relationships between them are frosty, Morton claiming she was cut out of the promotional loop when they returned from America.
exclude, leave out, omit, eliminate

cut up

1North American informal Behave in a mischievous or unruly manner: kids cutting up in a classroom
More example sentences
  • ‘She was kind of getting a little antsy in there, there was a couple of horses cutting up,’ Bourque said.
2 informal (Of a horse race) have a particular selection of runners: the race has cut up badly with no other opposition from England

cut someone up

1 informal (Of a driver) overtake someone and pull in too closely in front of them: he was threatened with a baseball bat after cutting up another driver
More example sentences
  • It was pouring with rain that day and I was trying to turn right down an alley off Earls Court Road when suddenly a man pulled out right in front of me and cut me up.
  • Many a time I have had to batter the side of the bus scaring myself and the passengers inside to warn the bus driver that he was cutting me up and was about to smear me across the pavement.
  • I consider myself to be a concerned citizen, so if a driver cuts me up or behaves in a manner that I consider to be irresponsible, I should flash my lights and attempt to make him, or her, pull over and explain to them the error of their ways.
2North American informal Criticize someone severely: my kids cut him up about his appetite all the time
More example sentences
  • Finally, after I got through with him, he took it out on Cory by cutting her up.


Middle English (probably existing, although not recorded, in Old English); probably of Germanic origin and related to Norwegian kutte and Icelandic kuta 'cut with a small knife', kuti 'small blunt knife'.

  • There is evidence for the verb cut from the end of the 13th century. It may well have existed before that in Old English, but there are no written examples to prove it. You say something is cut and dried when it is completely settled or decided. There used to be a distinction between the cut and dried herbs sold in herbalists' shops and those that had been freshly gathered. The cut of someone's jib is their appearance or expression. A jib is a triangular sail set forward of the mast on a sailing ship or boat. Its proportions were variable and the characteristic shape of a particular jib helped to identify a ship. Hence the term came to be applied to the impression given by a person's appearance. Something cuts the mustard when it comes up to expectations or meets the required standard. In early 20th-century US slang mustard had the meaning ‘the best of anything’. Cut to the chase, meaning ‘come to the point’, comes from film-making. The idea is of moving straight to the most exciting part.

Words that rhyme with cut

abut, but, butt, glut, gut, hut, intercut, jut, Mut, mutt, phut, putt, rut, scut, shortcut, shut, slut, smut, strut, tut, undercut

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cut

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.