Clear out, escape, desert, as in He wished he could just cut and run. This term originally (about 1700) meant to cut a vessel's anchor cable and make sail at once. By the mid-1800s it was being used figuratively. Charles Dickens had it in Great Expectations (1861): “I'd give a shilling if they had cut and run.” Also see cut out, def. 7.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use cut and run in a sentence
Today the Gipper would be considered lily-livered, a “ surrender monkey,” another member of the “cut-and-run crowd.”
But it is reassuring that this withdrawal does not have, about it, the feel of a totally cynical cut-and-run.
Ill betide the Hun who dared to make a cut-and-run raid upon Dover.The Thick of the Fray at Zeebrugge | Percy F. Westerman