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[kuht-awf, -of] /ˈkʌtˌɔf, -ˌɒf/
an act or instance of cutting off.
something that cuts off.
a road, passage, etc., that leaves another, usually providing a shortcut:
Let's take the cutoff to Baltimore.
a new and shorter channel formed in a river by the water cutting across a bend in its course.
a point, time, or stage serving as the limit beyond which something is no longer effective, applicable, or possible.
cutoffs, Also, cut-offs. shorts made by cutting the legs off a pair of trousers, especially jeans, above the knees and often leaving the cut edges ragged.
Accounting. a selected point at which records are considered complete for the purpose of settling accounts, taking inventory, etc.
Baseball. an infielder's interception of a ball thrown from the outfield in order to relay it to home plate or keep a base runner from advancing.
Machinery. arrest of the steam moving the pistons of an engine, usually occurring before the completion of a stroke.
Electronics. (in a vacuum tube) the minimum grid potential preventing an anode current.
Rocketry. the termination of propulsion, either by shutting off the propellant flow or by stopping the combustion of the propellant.
being or constituting the limit or ending:
a cutoff date for making changes.
Origin of cutoff
First recorded in 1735-45; noun use of verb phrase cut off Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cut-offs
Historical Examples
  • They figure they can dodge around where they know the trails and cut-offs.

    Desert Conquest

    A. M. Chisholm
  • These are taken partly as cut-offs and partly for the beauty of the scenery.

    A Summer's Outing Carter H. Harrison
  • One of the most noteworthy examples of these cut-offs is Davis'.

  • In our day, if you travel by river from the southernmost of these three cut-offs to the northernmost, you go only seventy miles.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • On my return, an hour later, the sun was looking over the tops of the "cut-offs," but he did not see a whippoorwill.

    Wild Life Near Home Dallas Lore Sharp
  • cut-offs and escape pipes outside of the house will reduce the risk of explosions within.

  • You can't make any cut-offs, or short side trips; you've always got to get back to your wagon again.

    Jack the Young Trapper George Bird Grinnell
  • Jack and Jimmie found shelter in one of the false channels or cut-offs that had now begun to be frequent sights along the way.

  • The tigers were exceedingly numerous on all the islands formed by the cut-offs, and swam without difficulty from one to another.

    Across India Oliver Optic
  • Sometimes love's friends really help; help find ways, or keep ways found; even make chutes and cut-offs.

    Gideon's Band George W. Cable
British Dictionary definitions for cut-offs


plural noun
trousers that have been shortened to calf length or to make shorts
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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Word Origin and History for cut-offs



1640s, "act of cutting off," also "portion cut off," from verbal phrase cut off (late 14c.). Of rivers, from 1773; of roads, from 1806; of clothing (adj.), from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cut-offs



Pants, usually blue jeans, cut off above the knees and left to unravel (1970s+)

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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