Nearby words

  1. customs broker,
  2. customs union,
  3. custos,
  4. custos morum,
  5. custumal,
  6. cut a deal,
  7. cut a long story short,
  8. cut a wide swath,
  9. cut above,
  10. cut across


Origin of cut

1175–1225; Middle English cutten, kytten, kitten, Old English *cyttan; akin to Old Swedish kotta to cut, Old Norse kuti little knife

Related forms

Synonym study

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

British Dictionary definitions for cut off

cut off

verb (tr, adverb)

to remove by cutting
to intercept or interrupt something, esp a telephone conversation
to discontinue the supply ofto cut off the water
to bring to an end
to deprive of rights; disinheritshe was cut off without a penny
to sever or separateshe was cut off from her family
to occupy a position so as to prevent or obstruct (a retreat or escape)

noun cutoff

  1. the act of cutting off; limit or termination
  2. (as modifier)the cutoff point
mainly US a route or way that is shorter than the usual one; short cut
a device to terminate the flow of a fluid in a pipe or duct
Also called: offcut the remnant of metal, plastic, etc, left after parts have been machined or trimmed
  1. the value of voltage, frequency, etc, below or above which an electronic device cannot function efficiently
  2. (as modifier)cutoff voltage
a channel cutting across the neck of a meander, which leaves an oxbow lake
another name for oxbow (def. 2)


verb cuts, cutting or cut

to open up or incise (a person or thing) with a sharp edge or instrument; gash
(of a sharp instrument) to penetrate or incise (a person or thing)
to divide or be divided with or as if with a sharp instrumentcut a slice of bread
(intr) to use a sharp-edged instrument or an instrument that cuts
(tr) to trim or prune by or as if by clippingto cut hair
(tr) to reap or mow (a crop, grass, etc)
(tr) to geld or castrate
(tr sometimes foll by out) to make, form, or shape by cuttingto cut a suit
(tr) to hollow or dig out; excavateto cut a tunnel through the mountain
to strike (an object) sharply
(tr) sport to hit (a ball) with a downward slicing stroke so as to impart spin or cause it to fall short
cricket to hit (the ball) to the off side, usually between cover and third man, with a roughly horizontal bat
to hurt or wound the feelings of (a person), esp by malicious speech or action
(tr) informal to refuse to recognize; snub
(tr) informal to absent oneself from (an activity, location, etc), esp without permission or in hasteto cut class
(tr) to abridge, shorten, or edit by excising a part or parts
(tr often foll by down) to lower, reduce, or curtailto cut losses
(tr) to dilute or weakenheroin that was cut with nontoxic elements
(tr) to dissolve or break upto cut fat
(when intr, foll by across or through) to cross or traversethe footpath cuts through the field
(intr) to make a sharp or sudden change in direction; veer
to grow (teeth) through the gums or (of teeth) to appear through the gums
(intr) films
  1. to call a halt to a shooting sequence
  2. (foll by to)to move quickly to another scene
films to edit (film)
(tr) to switch off (a light, car engine, etc)
(tr) (of a performer, recording company, etc) to make (a record or tape of a song, concert, performance, etc)
  1. to divide (the pack) at random into two parts after shuffling
  2. (intr)to pick cards from a spread pack to decide dealer, partners, etc
(tr) to remove (material) from an object by means of a chisel, lathe, etc
(tr) (of a tool) to bite into (an object)
(intr) (of a horse) to injure the leg just above the hoof by a blow from the opposite foot
cut a caper or cut capers
  1. to skip or jump playfully
  2. to act or behave playfully; frolic
cut both ways
  1. to have both good and bad effects
  2. to affect both sides of something, as two parties in an argument, etc
cut a dash to behave or dress showily or strikingly; make a stylish impression
cut a person dead informal to ignore a person completely
cut a good figure to appear or behave well
cut a poor figure to appear or behave badly
cut and run informal to make a rapid escape
cut it slang be successful in doing something
cut it fine informal to allow little margin of time, space, etc
cut corners to do something in the easiest or shortest way, esp at the expense of high standardswe could finish this project early only if we cut corners
cut loose to free or become freed from restraint, custody, anchorage, etc
cut no ice informal to fail to make an impression
cut one's losses to give up spending time, money, or energy on an unprofitable or unsuccessful activity
cut one's teeth on informal
  1. to use at an early age or stage
  2. to practise on


detached, divided, or separated by cutting
botany incised or dividedcut leaves
made, shaped, or fashioned by cutting
reduced or diminished by or as if by cuttingcut prices
gelded or castrated
weakened or diluted
British a slang word for drunk
hurt; resentful
cut and dried informal settled or arranged in advance
cut lunch Australian and NZ a sandwich lunch carried from home to work, school, etc


the act of cutting
a stroke or incision made by cutting; gash
a piece or part cut off, esp a section of food cut from the wholea cut of meat
the edge of anything cut or sliced
a passage, channel, path, etc, cut or hollowed out
an omission or deletion, esp in a text, film, or play
a reduction in price, salary, etc
a decrease in government finance in a particular department or area, usually leading to a reduction of services, staff numbers, etc
short for power cut
mainly US and Canadian a quantity of timber cut during a specific time or operation
informal a portion or share
informal a straw, slip of paper, etc, used in drawing lots
the manner or style in which a thing, esp a garment, is cut; fashion
  1. Irish informala person's general appearanceI didn't like the cut of him
  2. Irish derogatorya dirty or untidy conditionlook at the cut of your shoes
a direct route; short cut
the US name for block (def. 15)
sport the spin of a cut ball
cricket a stroke made with the bat in a roughly horizontal position
films an immediate transition from one shot to the next, brought about by splicing the two shots together
informal an individual piece of music on a record; track
words or an action that hurt another person's feelings
a refusal to recognize an acquaintance; snub
informal, mainly US an unauthorized absence, esp from a school class
chem a fraction obtained in distillation, as in oil refining
the metal removed in a single pass of a machine tool
  1. the shape of the teeth of a file
  2. their coarseness or fineness
British a stretch of water, esp a canal
a cut above informal superior (to); better (than)
make the cut golf to better or equal the required score after two rounds in a strokeplay tournament, thus avoiding elimination from the final two rounds
miss the cut golf to achieve a greater score after the first two rounds of a strokeplay tournament than that required to play in the remaining two rounds

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

Word Origin and History for cut off
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for cut off




To penetrate with a sharp edge; strike a narrow opening in.
To separate into parts with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument; sever.
To make an incision or a separation.
To have a new tooth grow through the gums.
To form or shape by severing or incising.
To separate from a body; detach.
To lessen the strength of; dilute.


The act of cutting.
The result of cutting, especially an opening or wound made by a sharp edge.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with cut off

cut off


Separate from others, isolate, as in The construction debris cut off the workers from the canteen, or The new sect was cut off from the church. [Late 1500s]


Stop suddenly, discontinue, as in He quickly cut off the engine, or The drama was cut off by a news flash about tornado warnings. [Late 1500s]


Shut off, bar, Their phone was cut off when they didn't pay the bill, or Tom's father threatened to cut off his allowance. [c. 1600]


Interrupt the course or passage of, intercept, as in The operator cut us off, or The shortstop cut off the throw to the plate. [Late 1500s]


Also, cut off with a shilling or cent. Disinherit, as in Grandfather cut him off with a shilling. This usage dates from the early 1700s; the purpose of bequeathing one shilling (a small sum) was to indicate that the heir had not been overlooked but was intentionally being disinherited. In America cent was substituted from about 1800 on.


In addition to the idioms beginning with cut

  • cut above
  • cut across
  • cut a deal
  • cut adrift
  • cut a long story short
  • cut and dried
  • cut and paste
  • cut and run
  • cut a wide swath
  • cut back
  • cut both ways
  • cut capers
  • cut class
  • cut corners
  • cut dead
  • cut down
  • cute as a button
  • cut ice
  • cut in
  • cut into
  • cut it
  • cut it fine
  • cut it out
  • cut loose
  • cut no ice
  • cut off
  • cut off one's nose to spite one's face
  • cut off with a shilling
  • cut of one's jib
  • cut one's losses
  • cut one's teeth on
  • cut out
  • cut out of whole cloth
  • cut short
  • cut someone dead
  • cut someone's throat
  • cut teeth
  • cut the comedy
  • cut the ground from under
  • cut the mustard
  • cut to the bone
  • cut to the chase
  • cut to the quick
  • cut up

also see:

  • (cut) down to size
  • fish or cut bait
  • have one's work cut out
  • like a chicken with its head cut off
  • make (cut) a long story short
  • unkindest cut
  • you could cut it with a knife
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.