• synonyms


[kuht-awf, -of]
  1. an act or instance of cutting off.
  2. something that cuts off.
  3. a road, passage, etc., that leaves another, usually providing a shortcut: Let's take the cutoff to Baltimore.
  4. a new and shorter channel formed in a river by the water cutting across a bend in its course.
  5. a point, time, or stage serving as the limit beyond which something is no longer effective, applicable, or possible.
  6. cutoffs, Also cut-offs. shorts made by cutting the legs off a pair of trousers, especially jeans, above the knees and often leaving the cut edges ragged.
  7. Accounting. a selected point at which records are considered complete for the purpose of settling accounts, taking inventory, etc.
  8. Baseball. an infielder's interception of a ball thrown from the outfield in order to relay it to home plate or keep a base runner from advancing.
  9. Machinery. arrest of the steam moving the pistons of an engine, usually occurring before the completion of a stroke.
  10. Electronics. (in a vacuum tube) the minimum grid potential preventing an anode current.
  11. Rocketry. the termination of propulsion, either by shutting off the propellant flow or by stopping the combustion of the propellant.
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  1. being or constituting the limit or ending: a cutoff date for making changes.
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Origin of cutoff

First recorded in 1735–45; noun use of verb phrase cut off
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cut-offs

cessation, check, discontinuance, discontinuation, halt, stoppage, termination, cutoff

Examples from the Web for cut-offs

Historical Examples of cut-offs

  • They figure they can dodge around where they know the trails and cut-offs.

    Desert Conquest

    A. M. Chisholm

  • These are taken partly as cut-offs and partly for the beauty of the scenery.

    A Summer's Outing

    Carter H. Harrison

  • One of the most noteworthy examples of these cut-offs is Davis'.

  • In our day, if you travel by river from the southernmost of these three cut-offs to the northernmost, you go only seventy miles.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • On my return, an hour later, the sun was looking over the tops of the "cut-offs," but he did not see a whippoorwill.

    Wild Life Near Home

    Dallas Lore Sharp

British Dictionary definitions for cut-offs


pl n
  1. trousers that have been shortened to calf length or to make shorts
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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-offs



1640s, "act of cutting off," also "portion cut off," from verbal phrase cut off (late 14c.). Of rivers, from 1773; of roads, from 1806; of clothing (adj.), from 1840.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper