v. cut, cut·ting, cuts
1. To penetrate with a sharp edge; strike a narrow opening in.
2. To separate into parts with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument; sever: cut cloth with scissors.
3. To sever the edges or ends of; shorten: cut one's hair.
4. To mow, reap, or harvest: cut grain; cut grass.
5. To fell by sawing; hew.
6. To have (a new tooth) grow through the gums.
a. To form or shape by severing or incising: a doll that was cut from paper.
b. To form or shape by grinding: cut a diamond.
a. To form by penetrating, probing, or digging: cut a trench.
b. To exhibit the appearance or give the impression of: cuts a fine figure on the dance floor.
a. To separate from a main body; detach: cut a limb from a tree.
b. To separate from a group: cut a calf from a herd.
c. To discharge from a group or number: had to cut six players from the team.
10. To pass through or across; cross: a sailboat cutting the water.
11. Games To divide (a deck of cards) into two parts, as in completing a shuffle or in exposing a card at random.
12. To reduce the size, extent, or duration of; curtail or shorten: cut a payroll; cut a budget; cut the cooking time in half.
a. To remove or delete: cut a line from a poem.
b. Computers To remove (a segment) from a document or graphics file for storage in a buffer.
14. To lessen the strength of; dilute: cut whiskey with water.
15. To dissolve by breaking down the fat of: Soap cuts grease.
16. To injure the feelings of; hurt keenly.
17. To refuse to speak to or recognize; snub: cut me dead at the party.
18. To fail to attend purposely: cut a class.
19. Informal To cease; stop: cut the noise; cut an engine.
a. To strike (a ball) so that it spins in a reverse direction.
b. To throw or hit (a ball) on a curving trajectory.
a. To perform: cut a caper.
b. To make out and issue: cut a check to cover travel expenses.
22. To arrange or reach (an agreement).
23. Slang To be able to manage; handle successfully: couldn't cut the long hours anymore.
24. To stop filming (a movie scene).
a. To record a performance on (a phonograph record or other medium).
b. To make a recording of (a song, for example).
26. To edit (a movie or audio recording).
27. Vulgar Slang To expel (a discharge of intestinal gas).
28. To injure (oneself) by penetrating the skin with a sharp object.
1. To make an incision or a separation: Cut along the dotted line.
2. To allow incision or severing: Butter cuts easily.
3. To function as a sharp-edged instrument.
a. To remove part of something, such as a text or film.
b. Computers To remove a part of a document or graphics file and store it in a buffer.
5. To grow through the gums. Used of teeth.
6. To injure someone's feelings: a remark that cut without mercy.
7. To change direction abruptly: Cut to the left at the next intersection.
8. To go directly and often hastily: cut across a field.
9. Games To divide a pack of cards into two parts, especially in order to make a chance decision or selection.
10. To make an abrupt transition to another segment of film, video, or audio: cut from one shot to another.
11. To be very astute and penetrating: an analysis that cuts deep.
12. To inflict self-injury by penetrating the skin with a sharp object.
1. The act of cutting.
2. The result of cutting, especially an opening or wound made by a sharp edge.
3. A part that has been cut from a main body: a cut of beef; a cut of cloth.
4. A passage made by digging or probing.
5. The elimination or removal of a part: a cut in a speech.
6. A reduction: a cut in salary.
7. Sports The remainder of contestants in a competition, especially in golf, after some have been eliminated: did very well but still missed the cut.
8. The style in which a garment is cut: a suit of traditional cut.
9. A haircut.
10. Informal A portion of profits or earnings; a share.
11. A wounding remark; an insult.
12. An unexcused absence, as from school or a class.
13. A step in a scale of value or quality; degree: a cut above the average.
a. An engraved block or plate.
b. A print made from such a block.
a. A stroke that causes a ball to spin in a reverse direction.
b. A curve in the trajectory of a ball or puck.
16. Baseball A swing of a bat.
17. Games The act of dividing a deck of cards into two parts, as before dealing.
18. One of the objects used in drawing lots.
19. A transition between segments of film, video, or audio.
20. A movie at a given stage in its editing: approved the final cut for distribution.
21. A single selection of music from a recording, especially a phonograph recording.
1. Having the ends or edges cut: admired his newly cut hair.
2. Having been cut or clipped off: cut grass that blew in the wind.
3. Printing Having the page edge slit or trimmed. Used of a book.
4. Ground to a specific shape: cut gemstones.
5. Slang Circumcised. Used of a man or boy.
1. To shorten by cutting; prune.
2. To reduce or decrease: cut back production.
1. To kill or strike down.
2. To alter by removing extra or additional fittings: cut down a car for racing.
3. To reduce the amount taken or used: cutting down on one's intake of rich foods.
1. To move into a line of people or things out of turn.
2. To interrupt: During the debate my opponent kept cutting in.
3. To interrupt a dancing couple in order to dance with one of them.
4. To connect or become connected into an electrical circuit.
5. To mix in with or as if with cutting motions: Measure out the flour and use a pair of knives to cut the shortening in.
6. To include, especially among those profiting.
1. To separate from others; isolate.
2. To stop suddenly; discontinue.
3. To shut off; bar.
4. To interrupt the course or passage of: The infielder cut off the throw to the plate.
5. To interrupt or break the line of communication of: The telephone operator cut us off.
6. To disinherit: cut their heirs off without a cent.
1. To remove by or as if by cutting.
2. To form or shape by or as if by cutting.
3. To take the place of; supplant.
4. To suit or fit by nature: I'm not cut out to be a hero.
5. To assign beforehand or by necessity; predetermine: We've got our work cut out for us.
6. To deprive: felt cut out of all the fun.
7. To stop; cease.
8. Informal To depart hastily.
9. Chiefly Southern US To turn off (a light or television set).
cut up InformalIdioms:
1. To behave in a playful, comic, or boisterous way; clown.
2. To criticize severely.
a cut above
One that is superior to another or others.
cut a fat hog Texas
To take on more than one is able to accomplish: "Boy, has he cut a fat hog, as they say down home" (Hughes Rudd).
cut and run
To leave an unsettled situation or abandon a risky enterprise.
cut a wide swath
To make a big display; draw much attention.
To abandon an activity or enterprise.
cut both ways
To have both favorable and unfavorable results or implications.
To do something in the easiest or most inexpensive way.
cut from the same cloth
Similar or the same.
cut it Informal
To perform up to expectations or a required standard; be acceptable.
To speak or act without restraint: cut loose with a string of curses.
cut no ice
To make no effect or impression: an objection that cut no ice with management.
cut off (one's) nose to spite (one's) face
To injure oneself in taking revenge against another.
cut (one's) losses
To withdraw from a losing situation.
cut (one's) teeth on
To learn or do as a beginner or at the start of one's career.
To stop before the end; abbreviate.
cut (someone) down to size
To deflate the self-importance of (someone).
cut the cheese Vulgar Slang
To expel intestinal gas.
cut the mustard
To perform up to expectations or to a required standard.
cut to the chase
To get to the matter at hand.
[Middle English cutten.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.