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b cutoffs plural : shorts originally made from jeans with the legs cut off at the knees or higher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

The original 26-year-old cutoff was also partly due to the ages of participants included in studies used for the vaccine's approval. Korin Miller, SELF, "The HPV Vaccine Is Now FDA-Approved for People Over 26: What You Need to Know," 9 Oct. 2018 In California, where 12 million people are covered by Medicaid, the cutoff would be about $26 an hour for a family of three. Mark Schmitt, Vox, "Why did Bernie Sanders’s Stop BEZOS legislation draw so much resistance?," 18 Sep. 2018 Chigumba also said police have been informed about two presidential candidates who might have violated the law by campaigning after the cutoff time. Farai Mutsaka, The Seattle Times, "Counting starts after Zimbabweans vote in pivotal election," 30 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Six4Three, a developer of a fairly gross app that sorted through your Facebook friends’ photos to find pictures of them in their swimsuits, sued Facebook after the company cut off access to its API in 2015. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s morale problem is getting worse," 6 Dec. 2018 Since Qatar is already effectively cut off from Saudi Arabia, the canal project looks more like political posturing than actual infrastructure. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "This New Canal Would Turn Qatar into an Island," 17 Sep. 2018 Even in the face of ugly details of Jamal Khashoggi’s slaying, Trump has resisted calls to cut off arms sales to the kingdom and has been reluctant to antagonize the Saudi rulers. Susannah George, The Seattle Times, "US to revoke visas of Saudis implicated in killing of writer," 23 Oct. 2018 In the 1700s, simple poesy rings were popular in Europe, while in New England, Puritan men—shunning frivolous rings—were thought to have given thimbles to their betrothed (though women often cut off the tops and wore them as rings anyway). Virginia Van Zanten, Vogue, "The Best Celebrity Engagement Rings of All Time," 6 Aug. 2018 Days later, users have been complaining that the update makes videos even smaller, cutting off parts of the video or lowering the quality. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "YouTube’s website now supports vertical videos without black bars," 30 July 2018 In Lesbos, 8,000 refugees are trapped after a deal between Europe and Turkey cut off their route into the mainline in 2016. Robin Hammond, National Geographic, "After Fleeing War, Refugee Children Face Lasting Psychological Trauma," 20 June 2018 The need increased a few years ago when Ohio Department of Transportation closed the State Route 28 bridge west of State Route 132, cutting off Station 18 from the majority of Goshen Township residences and businesses. Sharon Brumagem,, "Goshen Township celebrates Station 19 opening," 19 June 2018 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

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

30 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

Rhyming Dictionary: 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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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