cut·​off | \ˈkət-ˌȯf \

Definition of cutoff 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of cutting off

2a : the new and relatively short channel formed when a stream cuts through the neck of an oxbow

b : shortcut sense 1

c : a channel made to straighten a stream

3 : a device for cutting off

4a : something cut off

b cutoffs plural : shorts originally made from jeans with the legs cut off at the knees or higher

5 : the point, date, or period for a cutoff

cut off


Definition of cut off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bring to an untimely end

2 : to stop the passage of cut off communications

3 : shut off, bar the river cut off their retreat

4 : discontinue, terminate cut off a subscription

5 : separate, isolate cut herself off from her family

6 : disinherit threatened to cut him off without a penny

7a : to stop the operation of : turn off cut off the engine

b : to stop or interrupt while in communication the operator cut me off

intransitive verb

: to cease operating

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Other Words from cutoff


cutoff adjective

Examples of cutoff in a Sentence


a cutoff of the water supply The cutoff for new applications is next Wednesday.


the majority party cut off debate and forced a vote on the bill the dog cut off the one sheep that had to be sheared
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Appearing on artist Petra Collins’ Instagram stories on September 8, Selena was perched against a city wall, sitting on the sidewalk, wearing a cozy turtleneck sweater and pair of cutoff jean shorts. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez Wore a Balenciaga Sweater and Adam Selman X Le Specs Glasses," 10 Sep. 2018 Child abuse charges against them were dropped because prosecutors missed the 10-day cutoff for an evidentiary hearing to establish probable cause. Matt Richardson, Fox News, "New Mexico DA vows to 'pursue prosecution' in Muslim compound case despite dropped charges," 30 Aug. 2018 Equipped with her camera, Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey looked poised to capture incredible candid portraits while Sara Foster kept cool in denim cutoffs. Vogue, "Bumble BFF, The Tot, and Peanut Get Ready for Back-to-School in Style," 27 Aug. 2018 As with every wedding, there's a cutoff for how many people can attend; only 1,200 members of the public will make the rather exclusive list. Kara Thompson, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank Are Inviting 1,200 Members of the Public to Their Wedding," 18 July 2018 Featuring bright lemon and bubblegum pink stripes, a flattering silhouette, and low back, this ShopBAZAAR exclusive is the ultimate summer must-have that looks great on the beach and cool on the streets paired with denim cutoffs. Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Swimsuit You Won't Find Anywhere Else," 29 June 2018 Ratajkowski styled her hat with a bustier stripe top, Re/Done denim cutoff shorts, and sneakers. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Emily Ratajkowski's Jacquemus Straw Hat Stole the Show in Greece," 29 June 2018 Older houses may have pipes that can leach lead into the water above the EPA cutoff of 15 parts per billion. Rachael Moeller Gorman, Good Housekeeping, "Is Your Tap Water Safe?," 15 Aug. 2012 In order to qualify for the Champ meet, swimmers must meet cutoff times for the various strokes at some point during the five-week campaign. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Clear Creek Swim League announces Seals schedule," 13 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The group entered the cave June 23 but flooding cut off the exit. ___ 10:15 a.m. The last member of the rescue team to leave the Thai cave, Australian doctor Richard Harris, has lost his father. Fox News, "The Latest: Thai PM thanks people involved in cave rescue," 11 July 2018 Turn the corn flat side down and cut off another row. Karoline Boehm Goodnick,, "Recipe: A large round of pizza dough is grilled with veggies and ricotta, then drizzled with honey," 9 July 2018 The boys and their coach went exploring in the massive Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23 after a soccer practice, and were cut off when a rainstorm flooded the cave. Kaweewit Kaewjinda And Stephen Wright,, "Rescue of remaining 4 boys, coach from flooded Thai cave could take two operations," 9 July 2018 That move comes just months after Valve started protecting individual Steam usage data by default, cutting off the previous estimation method used by Steam Gauge and Steam Spy. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Valve leaks Steam game player counts; we have the numbers," 6 July 2018 Congressional opponents of the Affordable Care Act and reproductive health — with support from the White House — spent the majority of last year attempting to repeal the act and cut off people’s access to Planned Parenthood. Stephanie Glover, STAT, "We need another July 4 uprising to protect women’s health," 6 July 2018 Kathlene loved her bartending jobs and could cut off even the most belligerent drunk and charm him into leaving peacefully. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Art exhibit in Pigtown humanizes female sex workers and drug addicts," 6 July 2018 Wash the stalk to remove dirt, and cut off the leaves and whitish root. Heloise, Houston Chronicle, "Celebrate celery!," 4 July 2018 Follow the line of fat that separates the meaty ribs from the much tougher tips at the base of each rack, and cut off the tips. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Ribs 101: Pitmasters offer advice on cooking ribs," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cutoff.' 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 cutoff


1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for cutoff

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cutoff

The first known use of cutoff was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for cutoff



English Language Learners Definition of cutoff

: the act of stopping the movement or supply of something

: the time when something must be done or completed

cutoffs : short pants that are made from long pants by cutting off the legs at the knees or higher

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More from Merriam-Webster on cutoff

See words that rhyme with cutoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cutoff

Spanish Central: Translation of cutoff

Comments on cutoff

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


a private place of worship

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