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Idioms about cut

Origin of cut

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English cutten, kytten, kitten, Old English cyttan (unattested); akin to Old Swedish kotta “to cut,” Old Norse kuti “little knife”

synonym study for cut

2. Cut, chop, hack, hew refer to giving a sharp blow or stroke. Cut is a general word for this: to cut the grass. To chop is to cut by giving repeated blows with something sharp, as an ax. To chop and to hew are practically interchangeable, but hew suggests keeping to a definite purpose: to chop or hew down a tree; to hew out a clearing. To hack is to cut or chop roughly and unevenly: to hack off a limb.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of cut?

Cut is a verb that means to use a sharp tool on something, to stop, or to reduce. The word cut has many other senses as a verb, adjective, and noun.

To cut something is to use a sharp tool to chop, sever, slice, or divide something. Cut has several different specific senses depending on the tool being used. For example, when you use scissors to cut hair, you are snipping pieces of hair off. When you use a knife to cut a cake, you are carefully dividing the cake into pieces. A person that cuts something is called a cutter.

  • Real-life examples: Scissors, knives, scalpels, saws, swords, axes, and lawnmowers are some tools that are used to cut things.
  • Used in a sentence: Be careful that you don’t cut your hand with that sharp knife.

Cut is used in a similar sense as a noun to mean something that is caused by cutting (such as a wound) or a piece that has been cut from something.

  • Used in a sentence: I was fooling around with the saw and got a bad cut on my leg.

He reached in and grabbed the biggest cut of the pie.

Informally, cut is used as a verb to mean to stop doing something.

  • Used in a sentence: I need you to cut the jokes and start being serious.

Cut can also mean to lower or reduce something. This sense of cut is sometimes followed by the word down.

  • Real-life examples: Prices can be cut (lowered). Your homework can be cut down (reduced in the amount you have). A speech can be cut (reduced in length). Many people cut calories (reduce the number of calories they eat) when trying to lose weight.
  • Used in a sentence: We tried to cut costs by using cheaper wood.

Where does cut come from?

The first records of cut come from around 1175. It likely comes from the Old English cyttan and could be related to the Old Swedish kotta, meaning “to cut,” or the Old Norse kuti, meaning “small knife.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to cut?

  • cutter (noun)
  • uncut (adjective)
  • half-cut (adjective)
  • miscut (verb)
  • recut (verb)

What are some synonyms for cut?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cut

What are some words that often get used in discussing cut?

How is cut used in real life?

Cut is an extremely common word that generally means to use a sharp tool on something.

Try using cut!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of cut?

A. slice
B. slash
C. bash
D. chop

How to use cut in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cut

/ (kʌt) /

verb cuts, cutting or cut
See also cut across, cut along, cutback, cut down, cut in, cut off, cut out, cut up

Word Origin for cut

C13: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian kutte to cut, Icelandic kuti small knife
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with cut


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.