cut corners,
    1. to use a shorter route.
    2. to reduce costs or care in execution: cutting corners to meet the foreign competition.
    rough corners, rude, boorish, or unsophisticated characteristics, manners, or the like: Despite his rough corners, he was very likable.
    the four corners of the earth, the most distant or remote regions: They traveled to the four corners of the earth.
    turn the corner, to pass through a crisis safely: When the fever passed, we knew he had turned the corner.

Origin of corner

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, equivalent to Old French corne corner, horn (< Latin cornū horn; cf. cornu) + -er -er2

Synonyms for corner Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cut corners



the Corner informal an area in central Australia, at the junction of the borders of Queensland and South Australia



the place, position, or angle formed by the meeting of two converging lines or surfaces
a projecting angle of a solid object or figure
the place where two streets meet
any small, secluded, secret, or private place
a dangerous or awkward position, esp from which escape is difficulta tight corner
any part, region or place, esp a remote place
something used to protect or mark a corner, as of the hard cover of a book
commerce a monopoly over the supply of a commodity so that its market price can be controlled
soccer hockey a free kick or shot from the corner of the field, taken against a defending team when the ball goes out of play over their goal line after last touching one of their players
either of two opposite angles of a boxing ring in which the opponents take their rests
mountaineering a junction between two rock faces forming an angle of between 60° and 120°US name: dihedral
cut corners to do something in the easiest and shortest way, esp at the expense of high standards
round the corner or just round the corner close at hand
turn the corner to pass the critical point (in an illness, etc)
(modifier) located on a cornera corner shop
(modifier) suitable or designed for a cornera corner table
logic either of a pair of symbols used in the same way as ordinary quotation marks to indicate quasi quotationSee quasi-quotation


(tr) to manoeuvre (a person or animal) into a position from which escape is difficult or impossiblefinally they cornered the fox
(tr) to furnish or provide with corners
(tr) to place in or move into a corner
  1. to acquire enough of (a commodity) to attain control of the market
  2. Also: engrossto attain control of (a market) in such a mannerCompare forestall (def. 3)
(intr) (of vehicles, etc) to turn a corner
(intr) US to be situated on a corner
(intr) (in soccer, etc) to take a corner

Word Origin for corner

C13: from Old French corniere, from Latin cornū point, extremity, horn
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

Word Origin and History for cut corners



late 13c., from Anglo-French cornere (Old French corniere), from Old French corne "horn, corner," from Vulgar Latin *corna, from Latin cornua, plural of cornu "projecting point, end, horn" (see horn (n.)). Replaced Old English hyrne. As an adjective, from 1530s.



late 14c., "to furnish with corners," from corner (n.). Meaning "to turn a corner," as in a race, is 1860s; meaning "drive (someone) into a corner" is American English from 1824. Commercial sense is from 1836. Related: Cornered; cornering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with cut corners

cut corners

Do something in the easiest or least expensive way; also, act illegally. For example, Cutting corners in production led to a definite loss in product quality, or If the accountant cuts corners the auditors are sure to find out. This term alludes to rounding a corner as closely as possible in order to shorten the distance traversed and/or save time. [Late 1800s]


In addition to the idiom beginning with corner

  • corner the market

also see:

  • around the corner
  • cut corners
  • four corners of the earth
  • in a tight corner
  • out of the corner of one's eye
  • paint oneself into a corner
  • turn the corner
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.