Nearby words

  1. cutter number,
  2. cutter-rigged,
  3. cutthroat,
  4. cutthroat contract,
  5. cutthroat trout,
  6. cutting board,
  7. cutting compound,
  8. cutting edge,
  9. cutting edge, at the,
  10. cutting fluid

Origin of cutting

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at cut, -ing1, -ing2

Related formscut·ting·ly, adverbcut·ting·ness, nounnon·cut·ting, adjective, nounself-cut·ting, adjective



verb (used with object), cut, cut·ting.

to penetrate with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument or object: He cut his finger.
to divide with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument; sever; carve: to cut a rope.
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.
to hew or saw down; fell: to cut timber.
to trim by clipping, shearing, paring, or pruning: to cut hair.
to mow; reap; harvest: to cut grain.
to abridge or shorten; edit by omitting a part or parts: to cut a speech.
to repeatedly inflict injury on (oneself) by deliberately cutting the skin, as to cope with stress or negative emotions: Some teenagers cut themselves to stop their emotional pain.
to lower, reduce, diminish, or curtail (sometimes followed by down): to cut prices.
to dilute; make less thick: to cut wine.
to dissolve: That detergent cuts grease effectively.
to intersect; cross: One line cuts another at right angles.
Informal. to cease; discontinue (often followed by out): Cut the kidding. Let's cut out the pretense.
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.
to dilute or adulterate (a drug) by mixing it with other substances.
to grow (a tooth or teeth) through the gum: The baby is cutting his teeth.
to type, write, or draw on (a stencil) for mimeographing.
to make or fashion by cutting, as a statue, jewel, or garment.
Glassmaking. to produce a pattern (in glass) by grinding and polishing.
to refuse to recognize socially; shun ostentatiously: Her friends began to cut her as the season progressed.
to strike sharply, as with a whip.
to absent oneself from: allowed to cut three classes per semester.
Movies, Television.
  1. to stop (a scene or shot being filmed).
  2. to edit (a film).
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).
to wound the feelings of severely.
  1. to divide (a pack of cards) at random into two or more parts, by removing cards from the top.
  2. to take (a card) from a deck.
to record a selection on (a phonograph record or tape); make a recording of.
to castrate or geld.
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.
to hollow out; excavate; dig: to cut a trench.
Cricket. to strike and send off (a ball) in front of the batsman, and parallel to the wicket.
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.

to penetrate or divide something, as with a sharp-edged instrument; make an incision: The scissors cut well.
to admit of being cut: Butter cuts easily.
to repeatedly inflict self-injury by deliberately cutting the skin.
to pass, go, or come, especially in the most direct way (usually followed by across, through, in, etc.): to cut across an empty lot.
Movies, Television.
  1. to shift suddenly from one shot to another: Cut to the barroom interior.
  2. to stop the action of a scene: used as a command by a director.
to make a sudden or sharp turn in direction; change direction suddenly; swerve: We cut to the left to avoid hitting the child.
to strike a person, animal, etc., sharply, as with a whip.
to wound the feelings severely: His criticism cut deep.
(of the teeth) to grow through the gums.
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).
Cards. to cut the cards.
Informal. to leave hastily: to cut for the hills.
(of a horse) to interfere.


that has been subjected to cutting; divided into pieces by cutting; detached by cutting: cut flowers.
fashioned by cutting; having the surface shaped or ornamented by grinding, polishing, or the like: cut diamonds.
reduced by or as if by cutting: cut whiskey; cut prices.
Botany. incised; cleft.
castrated; gelded.
Slang. drunk.


the act of cutting; a stroke or a blow, as with a knife, whip, etc.
the result of cutting, as an incision, wound, passage, or channel.
a piece cut off: a cut of a pie.
Informal. a share, especially of earnings or profits: His agent's cut is 20 percent.
a haircut, often with a styling.
a reduction in price, salary, etc.
the manner or fashion in which anything is cut: the cut of a dress.
style; manner; kind: We need a man of his cut in this firm.
a passage or course straight across or through: a cut through the woods.
an excision or omission of a part.
a part or quantity of text deleted or omitted.
a quantity cut, especially of lumber.
a refusal to recognize an acquaintance.
an act, speech, etc., that wounds the feelings.
an engraved plate or block of wood used for printing.
a printed picture or illustration.
an absence, as from a school class, at which attendance is required.
Butchering. part of an animal usually cut as one piece.
Cards. a cutting of the cards.
  1. the act of cutting a ball.
  2. the spin imparted.
Fencing. a blow with the edge of the blade instead of the tip.
one of several pieces of straw, paper, etc., used in drawing lots.
Movies, Television.
  1. the instantaneous or gradual transition from one shot or scene to another in an edited film.
  2. an edited version of a film.Compare rough cut, final cut.
  3. an act or instance of editing a film.
an individual song, musical piece, or other similar material on a record or tape.
any product of the fractional distillation of petroleum.

Verb Phrases

cut across, to precede or go beyond considerations of; transcend: The new tax program cuts across party lines.
cut down,
  1. Also cut down lessen; decrease: to cut down on between-meal snacks.
  2. to strike and cause to fall: The first force to attempt an advance was swiftly cut down.
  3. to destroy, kill, or disable: The hurricane cut down everything in its path.
  4. to remodel, remake, or reduce in size, as a garment: She had her old coat cut down to fit her daughter.
cut in,
  1. to move or thrust oneself, a vehicle, etc., abruptly between others: A speeding car cut in and nearly caused an accident.
  2. to interpose; interrupt: to cut in with a remark.
  3. interrupt a dancing couple in order to dance with one of them.
  4. to blend (shortening) into flour by means of a knife.
cut off,
  1. to intercept.
  2. to interrupt.
  3. to stop suddenly; discontinue.
  4. to halt the operation of; turn off.
  5. to shut off or shut out.
  6. to disinherit.
  7. to sever; separate.
cut out,
  1. to omit; delete; excise.
  2. to oust and replace a rival; supplant.
  3. to part an animal from a herd.
  4. to plan; arrange: He has his work cut out for him.
  5. to move out of one's lane of traffic.
  6. Also cut on leave suddenly.
  7. refrain from; stop: to cut out smoking.
  8. (of an engine, machine, etc.) to stop running.
cut up,
  1. to cut into pieces or sections.
  2. to lacerate; wound.
  3. to distress mentally; injure.
  4. play pranks; misbehave: They got scolded for cutting up in church.

Origin of cut

1175–1225; Middle English cutten, kytten, kitten, Old English *cyttan; akin to Old Swedish kotta to cut, Old Norse kuti little knife

Related forms

Synonym study

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cutting

British Dictionary definitions for cutting



a piece cut off from the main part of something
  1. a method of vegetative propagation in which a part of a plant, such as a stem or leaf, is induced to form its own roots
  2. a part separated for this purpose
Also called (esp US and Canadian): clipping an article, photograph, etc, cut from a newspaper or other publication
the editing process by which a film is cut and made
an excavation in a piece of high land for a road, railway, etc, enabling it to remain at approximately the same level
Irish informal sharp-wittednessthere is no cutting in him
(modifier) designed for or adapted to cutting; edged; sharpa cutting tool


keen; piercinga cutting wind
tending to hurt the feelingsa cutting remark
Derived Formscuttingly, adverb


verb cuts, cutting or cut

to open up or incise (a person or thing) with a sharp edge or instrument; gash
(of a sharp instrument) to penetrate or incise (a person or thing)
to divide or be divided with or as if with a sharp instrumentcut a slice of bread
(intr) to use a sharp-edged instrument or an instrument that cuts
(tr) to trim or prune by or as if by clippingto cut hair
(tr) to reap or mow (a crop, grass, etc)
(tr) to geld or castrate
(tr sometimes foll by out) to make, form, or shape by cuttingto cut a suit
(tr) to hollow or dig out; excavateto cut a tunnel through the mountain
to strike (an object) sharply
(tr) sport to hit (a ball) with a downward slicing stroke so as to impart spin or cause it to fall short
cricket to hit (the ball) to the off side, usually between cover and third man, with a roughly horizontal bat
to hurt or wound the feelings of (a person), esp by malicious speech or action
(tr) informal to refuse to recognize; snub
(tr) informal to absent oneself from (an activity, location, etc), esp without permission or in hasteto cut class
(tr) to abridge, shorten, or edit by excising a part or parts
(tr often foll by down) to lower, reduce, or curtailto cut losses
(tr) to dilute or weakenheroin that was cut with nontoxic elements
(tr) to dissolve or break upto cut fat
(when intr, foll by across or through) to cross or traversethe footpath cuts through the field
(intr) to make a sharp or sudden change in direction; veer
to grow (teeth) through the gums or (of teeth) to appear through the gums
(intr) films
  1. to call a halt to a shooting sequence
  2. (foll by to)to move quickly to another scene
films to edit (film)
(tr) to switch off (a light, car engine, etc)
(tr) (of a performer, recording company, etc) to make (a record or tape of a song, concert, performance, etc)
  1. to divide (the pack) at random into two parts after shuffling
  2. (intr)to pick cards from a spread pack to decide dealer, partners, etc
(tr) to remove (material) from an object by means of a chisel, lathe, etc
(tr) (of a tool) to bite into (an object)
(intr) (of a horse) to injure the leg just above the hoof by a blow from the opposite foot
cut a caper or cut capers
  1. to skip or jump playfully
  2. to act or behave playfully; frolic
cut both ways
  1. to have both good and bad effects
  2. to affect both sides of something, as two parties in an argument, etc
cut a dash to behave or dress showily or strikingly; make a stylish impression
cut a person dead informal to ignore a person completely
cut a good figure to appear or behave well
cut a poor figure to appear or behave badly
cut and run informal to make a rapid escape
cut it slang be successful in doing something
cut it fine informal to allow little margin of time, space, etc
cut corners to do something in the easiest or shortest way, esp at the expense of high standardswe could finish this project early only if we cut corners
cut loose to free or become freed from restraint, custody, anchorage, etc
cut no ice informal to fail to make an impression
cut one's losses to give up spending time, money, or energy on an unprofitable or unsuccessful activity
cut one's teeth on informal
  1. to use at an early age or stage
  2. to practise on


detached, divided, or separated by cutting
botany incised or dividedcut leaves
made, shaped, or fashioned by cutting
reduced or diminished by or as if by cuttingcut prices
gelded or castrated
weakened or diluted
British a slang word for drunk
hurt; resentful
cut and dried informal settled or arranged in advance
cut lunch Australian and NZ a sandwich lunch carried from home to work, school, etc


the act of cutting
a stroke or incision made by cutting; gash
a piece or part cut off, esp a section of food cut from the wholea cut of meat
the edge of anything cut or sliced
a passage, channel, path, etc, cut or hollowed out
an omission or deletion, esp in a text, film, or play
a reduction in price, salary, etc
a decrease in government finance in a particular department or area, usually leading to a reduction of services, staff numbers, etc
short for power cut
mainly US and Canadian a quantity of timber cut during a specific time or operation
informal a portion or share
informal a straw, slip of paper, etc, used in drawing lots
the manner or style in which a thing, esp a garment, is cut; fashion
  1. Irish informala person's general appearanceI didn't like the cut of him
  2. Irish derogatorya dirty or untidy conditionlook at the cut of your shoes
a direct route; short cut
the US name for block (def. 15)
sport the spin of a cut ball
cricket a stroke made with the bat in a roughly horizontal position
films an immediate transition from one shot to the next, brought about by splicing the two shots together
informal an individual piece of music on a record; track
words or an action that hurt another person's feelings
a refusal to recognize an acquaintance; snub
informal, mainly US an unauthorized absence, esp from a school class
chem a fraction obtained in distillation, as in oil refining
the metal removed in a single pass of a machine tool
  1. the shape of the teeth of a file
  2. their coarseness or fineness
British a stretch of water, esp a canal
a cut above informal superior (to); better (than)
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
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

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for cutting
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for cutting




To penetrate with a sharp edge; strike a narrow opening in.
To separate into parts with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument; sever.
To make an incision or a separation.
To have a new tooth grow through the gums.
To form or shape by severing or incising.
To separate from a body; detach.
To lessen the strength of; dilute.


The act of cutting.
The result of cutting, especially an opening or wound made by a sharp edge.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with cutting


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.