[ kuht ]
See synonyms for: cutcutting on

verb (used with object),cut, cut·ting.
  1. to penetrate with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument or object: He cut his finger.

  2. to divide with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument; sever; carve: to cut a rope.

  1. to detach with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument; separate from the main body; lop off: to cut a slice from a loaf of bread.

  2. to hew or saw down; fell: to cut timber.

  3. to hollow out; excavate; dig: to cut a trench.

  4. to trim by clipping, shearing, paring, or pruning: to cut hair.

  5. to mow; reap; harvest: to cut grain.

  6. to abridge or shorten; edit by omitting a part or parts: to cut a speech.

  7. to repeatedly inflict injury on (oneself) by deliberately cutting the skin, as to cope with negative emotions: Some teenagers cut themselves in response to emotional pain.

  8. to lower, reduce, diminish, or curtail (sometimes followed by down): to cut prices.

  9. to dilute; make less thick: to cut wine.

  10. to dissolve: That detergent cuts grease effectively.

  11. to intersect; cross: One line cuts another at right angles.

  12. Informal. to cease; discontinue (often followed by out): Cut the kidding.Let's cut out the pretense.

  13. to stop; halt the running of, as a liquid or an engine (often followed by off): The pilot cut the engines and glided in for a landing. Cut off the hot water.

  14. to dilute or adulterate (a drug) by mixing it with other substances.

  15. to grow (a tooth or teeth) through the gum: The baby is cutting his teeth.

  16. to type, write, or draw on (a stencil) for mimeographing.

  17. to make or fashion by cutting, as a statue, jewel, or garment.

  18. Glassmaking. to produce a pattern (in glass) by grinding and polishing.

  19. to refuse to recognize socially; shun ostentatiously: Her friends began to cut her as the season progressed.

  20. to strike sharply, as with a whip.

  21. to absent oneself from: allowed to cut three classes per semester.

  22. Movies, Television.

    • to stop (a scene or shot being filmed).

    • to edit (a film).

  23. Computers. to remove (selected text, images, etc.) from a file to store in temporary memory until pasted elsewhere.: Compare copy (def. 15), paste (def. 13).

  24. to wound the feelings of severely.

  25. Cards.

    • to divide (a pack of cards) at random into two or more parts, by removing cards from the top.

    • to take (a card) from a deck.

  26. to record a selection on (a phonograph record or tape); make a recording of.

  27. Sports. to hit (a ball) with either the hand or some instrument so as to change its course and often to cause it to spin.

  28. Cricket. to strike and send off (a ball) in front of the batsman, and parallel to the wicket.

  29. Slang. to be a nonplaying dealer, manager, or supervisor of (a card game, crap game, or other gambling game) in return for a percentage of the money bet or sometimes for a fee.

verb (used without object),cut, cut·ting.
  1. to penetrate or divide something, as with a sharp-edged instrument; make an incision: The scissors cut well.

  2. to admit of being cut: Butter cuts easily.

  1. to repeatedly inflict self-injury by deliberately cutting the skin.

  2. to pass, go, or come, especially in the most direct way (usually followed by across, through, in, etc.): to cut across an empty lot.

  3. Movies, Television.

    • to shift suddenly from one shot to another: Cut to the barroom interior.

    • to stop the action of a scene: used as a command by a director.

  4. to make a sudden or sharp turn in direction; change direction suddenly; swerve: We cut to the left to avoid hitting the cyclist.

  5. to strike a person, animal, etc., sharply, as with a whip.

  6. to wound the feelings severely: His criticism cut deep.

  7. (of the teeth) to grow through the gums.

  8. Computers. to remove selected text, images, etc., from a file for storage in temporary memory until pasted elsewhere.: Compare copy (def. 17), paste (def. 14).

  9. Cards. to cut the cards.

  10. Informal. to leave hastily: to cut for the hills.

  11. (of a horse)

  1. that has been subjected to cutting; divided into pieces by cutting; detached by cutting: cut flowers.

  2. fashioned by cutting; having the surface shaped or ornamented by grinding, polishing, or the like: cut diamonds.

  1. reduced by or as if by cutting: cut whiskey; cut prices.

  2. Botany. incised; cleft.

  3. castrated; gelded.

  4. Slang. drunk.

  1. the act of cutting; a stroke or a blow, as with a knife, whip, etc.

  2. the result of cutting, as an incision, wound, passage, or channel.

  1. a piece cut off: a cut of a pie.

  2. Informal. a share, especially of earnings or profits: His agent's cut is 20 percent.

  3. a haircut, often with a styling.

  4. a reduction in price, salary, etc.

  5. the manner or fashion in which anything is cut: the cut of a dress.

  6. style; manner; kind: We need a man of his cut in this firm.

  7. a passage or course straight across or through: a cut through the woods.

  8. an excision or omission of a part.

  9. a part or quantity of text deleted or omitted.

  10. a quantity cut, especially of lumber.

  11. a refusal to recognize an acquaintance.

  12. an act, speech, etc., that wounds the feelings.

  13. an engraved plate or block of wood used for printing.

  14. a printed picture or illustration.

  15. an absence, as from a school class, at which attendance is required.

  16. Butchering. part of an animal usually cut as one piece.

  17. Cards. a cutting of the cards.

  18. Sports.

    • the act of cutting a ball.

    • the spin imparted.

  19. Fencing. a blow with the edge of the blade instead of the tip.

  20. one of several pieces of straw, paper, etc., used in drawing lots.

  21. Movies, Television.

    • the instantaneous or gradual transition from one shot or scene to another in an edited film.

    • an edited version of a film.: Compare rough cut, final cut.

    • an act or instance of editing a film.

  22. an individual song, musical piece, or other similar material on a record or tape.

  23. any product of the fractional distillation of petroleum.

Verb Phrases
  1. cut across, to precede or go beyond considerations of; transcend: The new tax program cuts across party lines.

  2. cut down,

    • Also cut down on. to lessen; decrease: to cut down on between-meal snacks.

    • to strike and cause to fall: The first force to attempt an advance was swiftly cut down.

    • to destroy, kill, or disable: The hurricane cut down everything in its path.

    • to remodel, remake, or reduce in size, as a garment: She had her old coat cut down to fit her daughter.

  1. cut in,

    • to move or thrust oneself, a vehicle, etc., abruptly between others: A speeding car cut in and nearly caused an accident.

    • to interpose; interrupt: to cut in with a remark.

    • Informal. to interrupt a dancing couple in order to dance with one of them.

    • to blend (shortening) into flour by means of a knife.

  2. cut off,

    • to intercept.

    • to interrupt.

    • to stop suddenly; discontinue.

    • to halt the operation of; turn off.

    • to shut off or shut out.

    • to disinherit.

    • to sever; separate.

  3. cut out,

    • to omit; delete; excise.

    • to oust and replace a rival; supplant.

    • to part an animal from a herd.

    • to plan; arrange: He has his work cut out for him.

    • to move out of one's lane of traffic.

    • Also cut on out. Slang. to leave suddenly.

    • Informal. to refrain from; stop: to cut out smoking.

    • (of an engine, machine, etc.) to stop running.

  4. cut up,

    • to cut into pieces or sections.

    • to lacerate; wound.

    • to distress mentally; injure.

    • Informal. to play pranks; misbehave: They were scolded for cutting up in church.

Idioms about cut

  1. a cut above, somewhat superior to another (thing, person, etc.) in some respect: Her work is a cut above anyone else's.

  2. cut a caper / figure, to perform a spirited, brief, outlandish dance step, especially as a result of euphoria.

  1. cut a figure,

    • to give a certain impression of oneself: He cut a distinguished figure in his tuxedo.

  2. cut and run,

    • Nautical. to cut the anchor cable and set sail, as in an emergency.

    • to leave as hurriedly as possible; flee.

  3. cut back,

    • to shorten by cutting off the end.

    • to curtail or discontinue: Steel production has been cut back in recent months.

    • to return to an earlier episode or event, as in the plot of a novel.

    • Football. to reverse direction suddenly by moving in the diagonally opposite course.

  4. cut both ways, to have, produce, or result in advantages as well as disadvantages: This decision will inevitably cut both ways.

  5. cut down to size, to reduce the stature or importance of: The novelist had a big ego until the critics cut him down to size.: Also chop down to size .

  6. cut it, Informal.

    • to achieve or maintain a desired level of performance: The aging football player decided he couldn't cut it any longer and retired.

    • to be effective or successful; satisfy a need.

  7. cut it out, Informal. to stop doing something: That hurts! Cut it out!

  8. cut no ice, Informal. ice (def. 25).

  9. cut out for, fitted for; capable of: He wasn't cut out for military service.

  10. cut the cheese, Slang. cheese1 (def. 13).

Origin of cut

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English cutten, kytten, kitten, Old English cyttan (unattested); akin to Old Swedish kotta “to cut,” Old Norse kuti “little knife”

synonym study For cut

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.

Other words for cut

Other words from cut

  • half-cut, adjective
  • mis·cut, verb, mis·cut, mis·cut·ting.
  • out·cut, verb (used with object), out·cut, out·cut·ting.
  • re·cut, verb, re·cut, re·cut·ting.
  • well-cut, adjective

Words Nearby cut Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cut in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cut


/ (kʌt) /

verbcuts, cutting or cut
  1. to open up or incise (a person or thing) with a sharp edge or instrument; gash

  2. (of a sharp instrument) to penetrate or incise (a person or thing)

  1. to divide or be divided with or as if with a sharp instrument: cut a slice of bread

  2. (intr) to use a sharp-edged instrument or an instrument that cuts

  3. (tr) to trim or prune by or as if by clipping: to cut hair

  4. (tr) to reap or mow (a crop, grass, etc)

  5. (tr) to geld or castrate

  6. (tr sometimes foll by out) to make, form, or shape by cutting: to cut a suit

  7. (tr) to hollow or dig out; excavate: to cut a tunnel through the mountain

  8. to strike (an object) sharply

  9. (tr) sport to hit (a ball) with a downward slicing stroke so as to impart spin or cause it to fall short

  10. cricket to hit (the ball) to the off side, usually between cover and third man, with a roughly horizontal bat

  11. to hurt or wound the feelings of (a person), esp by malicious speech or action

  12. (tr) informal to refuse to recognize; snub

  13. (tr) informal to absent oneself from (an activity, location, etc), esp without permission or in haste: to cut class

  14. (tr) to abridge, shorten, or edit by excising a part or parts

  15. (tr often foll by down) to lower, reduce, or curtail: to cut losses

  16. (tr) to dilute or weaken: heroin that was cut with nontoxic elements

  17. (tr) to dissolve or break up: to cut fat

  18. (when intr, foll by across or through) to cross or traverse: the footpath cuts through the field

  19. (intr) to make a sharp or sudden change in direction; veer

  20. to grow (teeth) through the gums or (of teeth) to appear through the gums

  21. (intr) films

    • to call a halt to a shooting sequence

    • (foll by to) to move quickly to another scene

  22. films to edit (film)

  23. (tr) to switch off (a light, car engine, etc)

  24. (tr) (of a performer, recording company, etc) to make (a record or tape of a song, concert, performance, etc)

  25. cards

    • to divide (the pack) at random into two parts after shuffling

    • (intr) to pick cards from a spread pack to decide dealer, partners, etc

  26. (tr) to remove (material) from an object by means of a chisel, lathe, etc

  27. (tr) (of a tool) to bite into (an object)

  28. (intr) (of a horse) to injure the leg just above the hoof by a blow from the opposite foot

  29. cut a caper or cut capers

    • to skip or jump playfully

    • to act or behave playfully; frolic

  30. cut both ways

    • to have both good and bad effects

    • to affect both sides of something, as two parties in an argument, etc

  31. cut a dash to behave or dress showily or strikingly; make a stylish impression

  32. cut a person dead informal to ignore a person completely

  33. cut a good figure to appear or behave well

  34. cut a poor figure to appear or behave badly

  35. cut and run informal to make a rapid escape

  36. cut it slang be successful in doing something

  37. cut it fine informal to allow little margin of time, space, etc

  38. cut corners to do something in the easiest or shortest way, esp at the expense of high standards: we could finish this project early only if we cut corners

  39. cut loose to free or become freed from restraint, custody, anchorage, etc

  40. cut no ice informal to fail to make an impression

  41. cut one's losses to give up spending time, money, or energy on an unprofitable or unsuccessful activity

  42. cut one's teeth on informal

    • to use at an early age or stage

    • to practise on

  1. detached, divided, or separated by cutting

  2. botany incised or divided: cut leaves

  1. made, shaped, or fashioned by cutting

  2. reduced or diminished by or as if by cutting: cut prices

  3. gelded or castrated

  4. weakened or diluted

  5. British a slang word for drunk

  6. hurt; resentful

  7. cut and dried informal settled or arranged in advance

  8. cut lunch Australian and NZ a sandwich lunch carried from home to work, school, etc

  1. the act of cutting

  2. a stroke or incision made by cutting; gash

  1. a piece or part cut off, esp a section of food cut from the whole: a cut of meat

  2. the edge of anything cut or sliced

  3. a passage, channel, path, etc, cut or hollowed out

  4. an omission or deletion, esp in a text, film, or play

  5. a reduction in price, salary, etc

  6. a decrease in government finance in a particular department or area, usually leading to a reduction of services, staff numbers, etc

  7. short for power cut

  8. mainly US and Canadian a quantity of timber cut during a specific time or operation

  9. informal a portion or share

  10. informal a straw, slip of paper, etc, used in drawing lots

  11. the manner or style in which a thing, esp a garment, is cut; fashion

    • Irish informal a person's general appearance: I didn't like the cut of him

    • Irish derogatory a dirty or untidy condition: look at the cut of your shoes

  12. a direct route; short cut

  13. the US name for block (def. 15)

  14. sport the spin of a cut ball

  15. cricket a stroke made with the bat in a roughly horizontal position

  16. films an immediate transition from one shot to the next, brought about by splicing the two shots together

  17. informal an individual piece of music on a record; track

  18. words or an action that hurt another person's feelings

  19. a refusal to recognize an acquaintance; snub

  20. informal, mainly US an unauthorized absence, esp from a school class

  21. chem a fraction obtained in distillation, as in oil refining

  22. the metal removed in a single pass of a machine tool

    • the shape of the teeth of a file

    • their coarseness or fineness

  23. British a stretch of water, esp a canal

  24. a cut above informal superior (to); better (than)

  25. 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

  26. 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

Origin of 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with cut


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.