[ kuht-uhp ]
/ ˈkʌtˌʌp /
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noun Informal.
a prankster or show-off.
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Origin of cutup

First recorded in 1775–85; noun use of verb phrase cut up
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does cutup mean?

Cutup is an informal word for someone who’s known for being a jokester or prankster—someone who’s funny and also probably a bit mischievous.

Example: Jane is all business at the office but she’s a real cutup at parties—she’s so funny!

Less commonly, the noun cutup (especially when it’s hyphenated as cut-up) refers to an artwork composed from the arrangement of other separate pieces, especially a poem constructed from other works. This can also be called a cut-up poem. Such a work can be created with what’s called the cut-up technique.

The phrasal verb cut up has several different meanings, including, most straightforwardly, to cut something into smaller pieces. This sense of the phrase is sometimes used in the form of an adjective, in which case it’s hyphenated, as in I always pack some cut-up fruit in the kids’ lunches.

Where does cutup come from?

The first records of the word cutup in reference to a jokester come from around 1780. It comes from the sense of the phrasal verb cut up that means “to behave in a playful or mischievous way.”

As a noun, cutup can also refer to a kind of montage or series of clips that have been edited (cut) together, such as sports highlights or clips from a TV show.

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What are some other forms related to cutup?

  • cut-up (alternate hyphenated spelling)

What are some synonyms for cutup?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cutup

What are some words that often get used in discussing cutup?

How is cutup used in real life?

Cutup is informal. Calling someone a cutup often implies that they are a bit mischievous or irreverent.

Try using cutup!

Which of the following words is a synonym of cutup?

A. joker
B. jokester
C. prankster
D. all of the above

How to use cutup in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cutup

cut up

verb (tr, adverb)
noun cut-up
informal, mainly US a joker or prankster
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 cutup

cut up


Divide into smaller parts, break the continuity of, as in These meetings have cut up my whole day. [c. 1800]


Severely censure or criticize, as in The reviewer cut up the book mercilessly. [Mid-1700s]


be cut up. Be distressed or saddened, as in I was terribly cut up when she left. [Mid-1800s] Charles Dickens used this idiom in A Christmas Carol (1844): “Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event.”


Behave in a playful, comic, or boisterous way, as in On the last night of camp the children usually cut up. [Late 1800s]


cut up rough. Act in a rowdy, angry, or violent way, as in After a beer or two the boys began to cut up rough. [Slang; first half of 1800s]

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