cut short


Abbreviate, stop abruptly, as in The thunderstorm cut short our picnic, or She cut her short, saying she'd already heard the story of their breakup. Shakespeare used this term to mean “put a sudden end to someone's life”: “Rather than bloody war shall cut them short” (2 Henry VI, 4:4), a less common usage today. The broader usage dates from the mid-1600s.

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