\ˈkət \
cut; cutting

Definition of cut 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to penetrate with or as if with an edged instrument cut one's hand with a knife

b : to hurt the feelings of Her sarcasm cut him to the quick.

c : to strike sharply with a cutting effect cut him across the legs with a whip

d : to strike (a ball) with a glancing blow that imparts a reverse spin cut a tennis ball with an inclined racket

e : to experience the growth of (a tooth) through the gum The toddler is cutting a tooth.

f : to harm (oneself) by making cuts or scratches on one's body The reasons given for self-inflicted violence indicate that it is a way of relieving intolerable feelings. When cutting themselves, women (and sometimes men) report that they do not feel any pain.— Deborah Feller

2a : trim, pare cut one's nails

b : to shorten by omissions cut the manuscript

c : dilute, adulterate cut the whiskey with water

d : to reduce in amount cut costs

e : to remove (something, such as text or a picture) from a computer document and place it on the clipboard so that it can be pasted into another position, document, or program

3a : mow, reap cut hay

b(1) : to divide into parts with an edged tool cut bread

(2) : fell, hew cut timber

c(1) : to separate or discharge from an organization cut them from the team

(2) : to single out and isolate cut a calf out from the herd

d : to turn sharply The driver cut the steering wheel hard.

e : to go or pass around or about : bypass cut the checkout line

4a : to divide into segments cut the cake

b : intersect, cross one line cutting another

c : break, interrupt cut our supply lines

d(1) : to divide (a deck of cards) into two portions

(2) : to draw (a card) from the deck

e : to divide into shares : split

f : analyze, break down Any way you cut it, we won.

5a : to make by or as if by cutting: such as

(1) : carve cut stone

(2) : to shape by grinding cut a diamond

(3) : engrave

(4) : to shear or hollow out cut a groove

b(1) : to sing, play, or act for the recording of cut an album cut a commercial

(2) : to sing or play (a song, a track, etc.) for a studio recording

c : to type on a stencil

d : edit sense 1b cut a motion picture

6a : stop, cease cut the nonsense

b : to refuse to recognize (an acquaintance) They cut her dead at the party.

c : to absent oneself from (something, such as a class)

d : to stop (a motor) by opening a switch

e : to stop the filming of (a motion-picture scene)

7a : to engage in (a frolicsome or mischievous action) … on summer nights strange capers are cut under the thin guise of a Christian festival.— Donald Culross Peattie

b : to give the appearance or impression of cut a fine figure

8 : to be able to manage or handle usually used in negative constructions can't cut that kind of work anymore

9a : to yield or accord to another : give cut me some slack

b : to fill out and sign (a check)

intransitive verb

1a : to function as or as if as an edged tool This knife cuts well.

b : to undergo incision or severance The cheese cuts easily.

c : to perform the operation of dividing, severing, incising, or intersecting The tailor is busy cutting.

d : to make a stroke with a whip, sword, or other weapon

e : to wound feelings or sensibilities remarks that cut

f : to cause constriction or chafing a coat that cuts at the armpits

g : to be of effect, influence, or significance an analysis that cuts deep

2a(1) : to divide a pack of cards especially in order to decide the deal or settle a bet

(2) : to draw a card from the pack

b : to divide spoils : split

3a : to proceed obliquely (see oblique entry 1 sense 1) from a straight course cut across the yard

b : to move swiftly a yacht cutting through the water

c : to describe an oblique or diagonal line

d : to change sharply in direction : swerve The driver cut across three lanes of traffic.

e : to make an abrupt transition from one sound or image to another in motion pictures, radio, or television The film cuts from the ballroom to the garden.

f : to make a sudden transition or imaginative leap The story cuts to 1917.

4 : to stop photographing motion pictures The director yelled "Cut!"

5 : to advance by skipping or bypassing another cut to the front of the line

6 : to engage in self-harm by making cuts or scratches on one's body middle school students reporting they knew of several classmates who cut

cut a deal

: to negotiate an agreement The band cut a deal with the recording company.

cut both ways

: to have both favorable and unfavorable results or implications

cut corners

: to perform some action in the quickest, easiest, or cheapest way

cut ice

: to be of importance usually used in negative constructions His opinion cuts no ice with me.

cut it

: to cut the mustard

cut loose

1 : to free from control or restraint cut us loose from the contract

2 : to act without restraint enjoyed cutting loose at nightclubs

cut one's teeth

: to learn, do, or perform as a beginning or at the start of one's career an actress who cut her teeth on television

cut the mustard

: to achieve the standard of performance necessary for success She tried to join the soccer team, but she couldn't cut the mustard.

cut to the chase

: to get to the point She urged him to skip the details and cut to the chase.



Definition of cut (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a product of cutting: such as

a(1) : an opening made with an edged instrument

(2) : a wound made by something sharp : gash

b : a creek, channel, or inlet made by excavation or worn by natural action

c : a surface or outline left by cutting

d : a passage cut as a roadway

e : a grade or step especially in a social scale a cut above the ordinary

f : a subset of a set such that when it is subtracted from the set the remainder is not connected

g : a pictorial illustration

h : track sense 2e(3)

2 : the act or an instance of cutting: such as

a : a gesture or expression that hurts the feelings made an unkind cut

b : a straight passage or course

c : a stroke or blow with the edge of a knife or other edged tool

d : a lash with or as if with a whip

e : the act of reducing or removing a part a cut in pay

f : an act or turn of cutting cards also : the result of cutting

g : the elimination of part of a large field from further participation, consideration, or competition (as in a golf tournament) often used with miss or make to denote respectively being or not being among those eliminated played well and made the cut

3 : something that is cut or cut off: such as

a : a length of cloth varying from 40 to 100 yards (36.6 to 91.4 meters)

b : the yield of products cut especially during one harvest

c : a segment or section of a meat carcass or a part of one

d : a group of animals selected from a herd

e : share took his cut of the profits

4 : a voluntary absence from a class

5a : a stroke that cuts a ball also : the spin imparted by such a stroke

b : a swing by a batter at a pitched baseball

c : an exchange of captures in checkers

6 : a result of editing: such as

a : an abrupt transition from one sound or image to another in motion pictures, radio, or television

b : an edited version of a film

7a : the shape and style in which a thing is cut, formed, or made clothes of the latest cut

b : pattern, type

c : haircut

cut of one's jib



Definition of cut (Entry 3 of 3)

: marked by a well-developed and highly defined musculature cut abs

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Synonyms for cut

Synonyms: Verb

gash, incise, rip, shear, slash, slice, slit

Synonyms: Noun

cutting, slice

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Examples of cut in a Sentence


cutting a piece of string He uses the ax to cut wood. The meat is so tender you can cut it with a fork. Cut along the dotted line. The saw easily cuts through metal. She cut into the melon with a knife. I cut myself while shaving. I had a cut finger. We were fighting, and he tried to cut me with his knife. Pieces of broken glass cut her face and arms.


Make a few small cuts in the crust to let the air escape. a two-inch cut in the cloth He came home covered in cuts and bruises. Further cuts in spending are needed. You'll have to make a few cuts in your manuscript if you want us to publish it.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If these don't cut it, a prescription-strength topical medication or oral antibiotic may be recommended by your derm. Mona Gohara, Good Housekeeping, "5 Reasons You're Getting Back Acne — And How to Make It Go Away," 7 Dec. 2018 Google Fi makes use of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular networks, so in further reaches of the U.S. where AT&T or Verizon reign supreme, Google Fi's triple threat might still not cut the mustard. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The New Google Fi Is the Perfect Excuse to Dump Your Crummy Mobile Carrier," 28 Nov. 2018 Performances such as the one Sunday just won’t cut it. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "To make playoffs, Seahawks need Russell Wilson to be better than good," 7 Nov. 2018 The porch also cuts into the great room, making the reading nook not quite wide enough to fully stretch out. Taylor Martin, House Beautiful, "What I Learned About Living In A Tiny House," 7 Nov. 2018 If at-home treatments still aren't cutting it, make an appointment with your physician. Chloe Metzger, Allure, "How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris (aka "Chicken Skin") on the Back of Your Arms," 31 Oct. 2018 Fancy gyms and rooftop access doesn’t cut it anymore. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "The 10 top emerging trends that will shape real estate in 2019," 10 Oct. 2018 Some anti-Kavanaugh activists reportedly think Feinstein’s methodical, low-key style just isn’t cutting it as the Republicans are on the verge of getting the nomination to a vote, although the longtime lawmaker has also been praised for being fair. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Here Are the Senate Women at the Center of the Brett Kavanaugh Debate," 5 Oct. 2018 Some locals were appalled; this is Orange County, after all, historically a bastion of Southern California conservatism, and with his long hair and wild beard, and always dressed in a red shirt and sandals, Larsen cut a provocative figure. Sean Elder, Town & Country, "The War of The Grosses: Inside the Bitter Divorce Battle of the Laguna Beach "Bond King"," 22 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Budding cartographers will appreciate the simple map at the book’s beginning, and playful die-cuts let kiddos peek into windows and under bridges. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 17 best kids’ books about design and cities," 12 Dec. 2018 As a result of the cuts, defense spending across the board was reduced. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What's Behind the Stark Rise in U.S. Military Accidents?," 6 Dec. 2018 From the economy to tax cuts to a slim legislative résumé, Trump is on par with or behind several other presidents at this point in their term, the Times pointed out. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Donald Trump's UN General Assembly Speech Earned a Laugh From World Leaders," 26 Sep. 2018 And experts said the trade war with China would lead to job cuts because of uncertainty among employers except jobless claims are now at the lowest level since 1969 and the labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment. Fox News, "Rep. Trey Gowdy on Dems' behavior at Kavanaugh hearings," 6 Sep. 2018 With the country still recovering from a recession, some are connecting the fire to government spending cuts, which have allowed the museum’s infrastructure, including its sprinkler system, to fall into a state of disrepair. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "Brazil Mourns Loss of Rio de Janeiro's National Museum After Devastating Fire," 4 Sep. 2018 Visually, it's considered and clever, from the sweeping neighborhood shots to the moody but cool music choices (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart!) to the snappy cuts from scene to scene. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "7 Things to Love About 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before'," 17 Aug. 2018 The House bill wasn’t popular in the Senate largely because of its deep cuts to the Medicaid program. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "No, John McCain did not make Republicans lose the House," 12 Nov. 2018 Though the building is faithful to the shipping container aesthetic, all of the units have slanted cut-outs, which, besides serving as very cool angular windows, create a chevron pattern that manifests across the building’s facade. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Striking apartment building is made up of 140 shipping containers," 12 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cut.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cut


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1990, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cut


Middle English cutten


see cut entry 1


see cut entry 1

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Statistics for cut

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cut

The first known use of cut was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for cut



English Language Learners Definition of cut

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to use a sharp tool (such as a knife) to open or divide (something, such as paper or wood)

: to make a hole or wound in (a person's skin)

: to make (a hole) in something by using a sharp tool



English Language Learners Definition of cut (Entry 2 of 2)

: an opening or hole made with a sharp tool (such as a knife)

: a wound on a person's body that is made by something sharp

: an act of making something smaller in amount


\ˈkət \
cut; cutting

Kids Definition of cut

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to penetrate or divide with or as if with an edged tool : cleave cut a finger

2 : to undergo shaping or penetrating with an edged tool Cheese cuts easily.

3 : to divide into two or more parts cut a deck of cards Would you cut the cake?

4 : to shorten or remove with scissors, a knife, or clippers

5 : to go by a short or direct path or course We cut across the lawn.

6 : to destroy the connection of Soldiers cut electricity to the enemy.

7 : to intentionally not attend He developed a habit of cutting class.

8 : to move quickly or suddenly The driver cut across two lanes of traffic.

9 : to make less cut costs

10 : to experience the growth of through the gum The baby is cutting teeth.

11 : to stop or cause to stop Cut the motor. Cut that whispering.

12 : to cause painful feelings That remark really cut.

13 : to shape by carving or grinding cut a gem

cut back

1 : to use less or do less of I cut back on watching TV.

2 : to reduce the size or amount of You'll have to cut back on your vacation plans.

cut down

1 : to knock down and wound or kill

2 : to reduce the size or amount of The new route cuts down on travel time.

3 to use less or do less of I'm cutting down on sweets.

cut in cut into

: to reduce the amount of The increase in supply costs cut into their profit.

cut off

1 : isolate The flood cut us off from the rest of the city.

2 : discontinue His father threatened to cut off his allowance.

3 : to stop or interrupt while speaking She always cuts me off while I'm talking.

cut out

1 : to form by removing with scissors, a knife, or a saw

2 : to assign through necessity You've got your work cut out for you.

3 : to put an end to Cut out that nonsense!



Kids Definition of cut (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something (as a gash or wound) produced by a sharp object

2 : reduction sense 1 He took a cut in pay.

3 : something resulting from shortening, division, or removal a cut of beef

4 : share entry 1 sense 1 They took their cut of the winnings.

5 : a sharp stroke or blow

6 : the way in which a thing is styled, formed, or made the cut of the pants

7 : something done or said that hurts someone's feelings


\ˈkət \
cut; cutting

Medical Definition of cut 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to penetrate with or as if with an edged instrument

b : to cut or operate on in surgery: as

(1) : to subject (a domestic animal) to castration

(2) : to perform lithotomy on

c : to experience the emergence of (a tooth) through the gum

2 : to subject to trimming or paring cut one's nails

intransitive verb

1 : to function as or in the manner of an edged tool a knife that cuts well

2 : to cut in surgery : operate



Medical Definition of cut (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a product of cutting: as

a : an opening made with an edged instrument

b : a wound made by something sharp

2 : a stroke or blow with the edge of a sharp implement (as a knife)

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More from Merriam-Webster on cut

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cut

Spanish Central: Translation of cut

Nglish: Translation of cut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cut for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cut

What made you want to look up cut? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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