cut·​back | \ˈkət-ˌbak \

Definition of cutback 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something cut back

2 : reduction a cutback in funding

cut back


Definition of cut back (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to shorten by cutting : prune

intransitive verb

1 : to interrupt the sequence of a plot (as of a movie) by introducing events prior to those last presented

2 : cut down cut back on sugar

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Synonyms for cutback

Synonyms: Verb

bob, clip, crop, cut, dock, lop (off), nip, pare, poll, prune, shave, shear, snip, trim

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Examples of cutback in a Sentence


we need to cut back the bushes a bit so that the house number is visible from the street cut back the meeting so everyone could leave early for the long weekend

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Scientists say saving the southern resident orcas is going to take a variety of solutions, from quieting vessel noise to fishing cutbacks, to restraint on development in what habitat remains for salmon and even breaching the lower Snake River dams. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Will we now commit to saving the Northwest’s orcas? A task force meets Tuesday," 7 Aug. 2018 Board members made staff cutbacks, consolidating resources by establishing separate grade centers at Leigh and Giles. Staff Report,, "Let the music play: Successful fundraising effort by Norridge parents saves District 80 band program," 22 June 2018 Yet San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, who pride themselves on defying common sense, unanimously voted last week to support the cutbacks. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "San Francisco’s Trump Water Strike," 6 Nov. 2018 Even workers who previously held correctional positions said the cutbacks were unsettling because fewer colleagues were on hand to provide backup when things turned ugly. New York Times, "Safety Concerns Grow as Inmates Are Guarded by Teachers and Secretaries," 17 June 2018 Capra said syncreon's cutbacks represent a slowdown at Harley ahead of the closing. Mark Davis, kansascity, "Harley-Davidson shutdown triggers 207 layoffs at another Kansas City operation," 22 June 2018 At the same time, production cutbacks initiated by OPEC last year have helped whittle down oil supplies. Alex Veiga,, "Get ready for the most expensive driving season in years," 30 Apr. 2018 The Trump administration has challenged the scientific consensus on climate, moved to repeal curbs on power plant emissions, proposed sweeping cutbacks to renewable energy research and pledged to withdraw from global climate agreements. Katherine Ellison, San Francisco Chronicle, "Can hacking the planet ward off climate change?," 25 Mar. 2018 Some cutbacks also were driven by Drexel’s decision to cap annual tuition, fee and room and board increases to 2 percent through next year, addressing concerns that the school had grown too expensive. Susan Snyder,, "Tuition was rising, appeal was falling. Here's how Drexel University tried to stop the slide," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Those declines were offset by greater business investment: Companies spent more on equipment and did not cut back nearly as much on their spending on buildings as initially estimated. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "US economy grew at brisk 3.5 pct. annual rate last quarter," 28 Nov. 2018 The cartel discussed adhering to official targets set in 2016 but cutting back on overproduction of about 1 million barrels a day. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Oil Rebounds After Sharp Selloff," 26 Nov. 2018 More than six in 10 parents have worked longer hours in order to save money, while 55 percent have shopped at discount stores and cut back on time spent with friends. Marie Haaland, Fox News, "The average American's 'dream vacation' takes just under a year to save for, study finds," 28 Sep. 2018 When a preferred drug is hard to come by, doctors can turn to less-effective—potentially more-expensive—drugs, as well as delay treatment or cut back on dosages. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "When supplies of drugs run low, drug prices mysteriously rise, data shows," 24 Sep. 2018 Common upgrades include landscaping, lawn care, replacing the garage door or front door, and cutting back shrubs — and those enhancements are worth it. Brett Martin, House Beautiful, "Is Your Renovation Actually Worth It?," 13 July 2018 This is the moment to confront the truth, knowing that there’s still time to change your investments to generate bigger returns, cut back your current spending to find more money for savings or (worst case) rethink your retirement expectations. Peter Finch, New York Times, "Countdown to Retirement: A Five-Year Plan," 6 July 2018 Add Facebook and Instagram to the growing list of tech giants rolling out features to cut back on your screen time. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook and Instagram are making it easier to spend less time on Facebook and Instagram," 1 Aug. 2018 More than a dozen states have sought waivers to cut back Medicaid eligibility by imposing work requirements and other restrictions, including drug testing, and more states are expected to do the same. Abbe Gluck, Vox, "The fate of the ACA could turn on Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment," 23 July 2018

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


1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1871, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Learn More about cutback

Dictionary Entries near cutback

cut a tooth


cut back



cut bone

cut card

Statistics for cutback

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cutback

The first known use of cutback was in 1871

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More Definitions for cutback



English Language Learners Definition of cutback

: the act of reducing the number or amount of something

More from Merriam-Webster on cutback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cutback

Spanish Central: Translation of cutback

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