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b cutoffs plural : shorts originally made from jeans with the legs cut off at the knees or higher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

Essential hardware for Lollapalooza and beyond Depending on your music festival of choice, essentials can vary from glow sticks and flower crowns to cowboy hats and cutoffs. Janna Irons, Outside Online, "What to Bring to Summer Music Festivals," 27 June 2018 But the Florida Supreme Court has determined that a June 24, 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision should be used as a cutoff to determine which death row inmates may be entitled to hearings. Marc Freeman,, "Man who beat Boca mom to death in 1984 denied new hearing over death penalty," 26 June 2018 After his suicide in Idaho in 1961, a distraught but determined Mary went back to retrieve the couple's possessions, securing special permission from the Kennedy administration following Washington's cutoff of ties with Havana. Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "Preservation effort makes Hemingway's Cuba home look like he never left," 30 May 2018 Kelly's gorgeous, but isn't there a cutoff age where age appropriateness comes into play? Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Kelly Ripa Looks Incredible in String Bikini While on Vacation," 26 Mar. 2018 Bevin's Medicaid cuts were applied to kids, dentists say Children, disabled adults and pregnant women — all who should have been exempt — were wrongly cutoff from Medicaid benefits, dentists said. Courier Journal Staff, The Courier-Journal, "5 things to know Wednesday: Ricky Jones and Fox, 4th of July events, Castleman statue," 4 July 2018 And Asian and European banks are wary because U.S. regulators have levied billions of dollars in fines in recent years and threatened transgressors with a cutoff from the far more lucrative American market. NBC News, "Obama-era license aimed to let Iran convert money in dollars," 6 June 2018 Others who have studied the state's election laws argue May 30 could be the 2018 cutoff. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "With John McCain ill, election officials, lawmakers focus on rules for filling a vacant Senate seat," 3 May 2018 When 35 percent body fat was the cutoff — a frequent standard, Banack said — 66 percent were considered obese. Stacey Burling,, "Women past menopause may be fatter than they think," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Chappell said police are still investigating, and received conflicting reports from witnesses, some of whom said the teen driver may have been cut off by another vehicle. David Owens,, "Teen Hurt In Crash On New Britain Avenue In West Hartford," 13 July 2018 The good news is some switches and power strips can completely cut off electricity, on demand, with a button or app, or through a timer. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "You can slash home energy costs by just replacing light bulbs," 11 July 2018 The mother and two other children had been cut off though all should have been covered, Tackett said. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Kids wrongly denied care under Bevin's Medicaid cuts, dentists say," 3 July 2018 The problem in Puerto Rico is that the electricity and water cut off . Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, Houston Chronicle, "Nightime sky to sparkle on Fourth in southeast communities," 29 June 2018 The accused include young people who shared drugs at a party and a son who gave his mother heroin after her pain medication had been cut off. Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, "Behind The NYT Investigation into Prosecuting Overdoses as Homicides," 12 June 2018 The background checks are conducted by a San Francisco company, Checkr, and drivers who have been cut off from the app have received a list of the offenses that led to their termination. Jason Laughlin,, "Uber changes direction on drivers' criminal history," 11 June 2018 Andrew Phelps said late Tuesday that a technical glitch had cut off crucial information: that the alert concerned elevated levels of a natural toxin in a local reservoir. NBC News, "Oregon official apologizes after cryptic emergency alert alarms residents," 30 May 2018 Andrew Phelps said late Tuesday that a technical glitch had cut off crucial information: that the alert concerned elevated levels of a natural toxin in a local reservoir. CBS News, "Oregon official apologizes after cryptic emergency alert reading "Prepare for Action"," 30 May 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

7 Sep 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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