[ kuht-bak ]
See synonyms for cutback on
  1. a reduction in rate, quantity, etc.: a cutback in production.

  2. a return in the course of a story, motion picture, etc., to earlier events.

  1. Football. a play in which the ball-carrier abruptly reverses direction, especially by starting to make an end run and then turning suddenly to run toward the middle of the line.

  2. a maneuver in surfing of heading the surfboard back toward a wave's crest.

Origin of cutback

First recorded in 1895–1900; noun use of verb phrase cut back Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cutback in a sentence

  • Mr. Stallings, may I cut back some of the Diamond D animals in the mixed herd?

    The Pony Rider Boys in Texas | Frank Gee Patchin
  • Many of these growers now cut back their seedlings to bare limbs, and grafted the new orange on these branches.

    Stories of California | Ella M. Sexton
  • Every day he planted new flowers, cut back rough bushes, and coaxed out graceful ones.

    Freckles | Gene Stratton-Porter
  • I cut back to Carrie Johnstone, the footage of her sitting at the board table with Rooney, laughing.

    Little Brother | Cory Doctorow
  • And there's the college over there; we will go home that way, and find out a short cut back to Elm Fields.

    Salome | Emma Marshall

British Dictionary definitions for cutback


/ (ˈkʌtˌbæk) /

  1. a decrease or reduction

  2. another word (esp US) for flashback

verbcut back (adverb)
  1. (tr) to shorten by cutting off the end; prune

  2. (when intr, foll by on) to reduce or make a reduction (in)

  1. (intr) mainly US (in films) to show an event that took place earlier in the narrative; flash back

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 cutback


Shorten by cutting, prune, as in It's time we cut back these bushes. [1860s]

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