[ kuht-bak ]
/ ˈkʌtˌbæk /
Save This Word!


a reduction in rate, quantity, etc.: a cutback in production.
a return in the course of a story, motion picture, etc., to earlier events.
Football. a play in which the ball-carrier abruptly reverses direction, especially by starting to make an end run and then turning suddenly to run toward the middle of the line.
a maneuver in surfing of heading the surfboard back toward a wave's crest.



Set some time apart to test your bracket symbol knowledge, and see if you can keep your parentheses, squares, curlies, and angles all straight!
Question 1 of 7
Let’s start with some etymology: What are the origins of the typographical word “bracket”?

Origin of cutback

First recorded in 1895–1900; noun use of verb phrase cut back
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for cutback

British Dictionary definitions for cutback

/ (ˈkʌtˌbæk) /


a decrease or reduction
another word (esp US) for flashback

verb cut back (adverb)

(tr) to shorten by cutting off the end; prune
(when intr, foll by on) to reduce or make a reduction (in)
(intr) mainly US (in films) to show an event that took place earlier in the narrative; flash back
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

Idioms and Phrases with cutback

cut back


Shorten by cutting, prune, as in It's time we cut back these bushes. [1860s]


Reduce, decrease, as in They are going to cut back defense spending, or We have to cut back production. [c. 1940] Also see cut to the bone.

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