cut·​off | \ ˈkət-ˌȯf How to pronounce cutoff (audio) \

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b cutoffs plural : shorts originally made from jeans with the legs cut off at the knees or higher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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One was that if a US-Saudi spat led to a cutoff of Saudi oil (as happened over Israel in the 1970s), then the American economy was badly hurt by higher prices and the Soviet economy was simultaneously helped by stronger foreign currency reserves. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Reconsidering the US-Saudi relationship," 19 Oct. 2018 All subjects with diabetes who received the vaccine had a 10% reduction after three years and 18% after four years, bringing them below the cutoff point for a clinical diagnosis. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Tuberculosis Vaccine Could Reverse Type 1 Diabetes, Study Shows," 21 June 2018 Central to their criticism is that the Penn doctors used a score of 40th percentile or above as a cutoff point for passing neurophysiological tests in evaluations of six of the 21 patients evaluated (eTable 2). Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "US pulls two more from Cuba amid puzzling health cases now affecting China," 11 June 2018 Frame Denim Le Grand Shorts: The perfect pair of cutoffs is almost as important to a road trip as the right soundtrack. Amelia Mularz, Harper's BAZAAR, "Planning the Great American Road Trip," 15 June 2015 According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, three out of 6,642 abortions performed in the state in 2016 occurred after the 20-week cutoff and all of those were performed in hospitals. Jonece Starr Dunigan,, "Yellowhammer Fund in Tuscaloosa providing financial assistance for abortions," 31 Jan. 2018 That wasn’t enough to address concerns among senators, who called for a funding cutoff, then unanimously approved a resolution blaming Prince Mohammed for Mr. Khashoggi’s death. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "Mattis, U.S. Commander Sought to Temper Saudi-Led War in Yemen," 31 Dec. 2018 Others are of the junior variety—collegians with long, flowing hair and cutoff shorts the size of underpants. Kimberly Cutter, Marie Claire, "New York City Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen Is Making Her Hometown the Best Place on Earth for Women," 24 Oct. 2018 Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had said a vote would proceed in the absence of a response from Ford's team by the cutoff time. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Tentative agreement reached for Kavanaugh-Ford hearing on Thursday, source says," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the shot, the couple are together at the 2014 Met Gala, but Ryan is in the center, and most of Blake's face is cut off. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds's Instagram Trolling: A History," 4 Oct. 2018 After the helicopter touched down at Doctors Medical Center of Modesto, nurses wheeled me into the emergency room and cut off my shorts and T-shirt. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018 Yet Dua Lipa was rewarded by having her acceptance speech cut off mid-sentence. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "Rap artists and women take center stage at Grammy Awards," 11 Feb. 2019 When safety problems arise, the federal agency can terminate Medicare funding, but that is a move of last resort, since medical centers cut off from such funding are often forced to close. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Psychiatric Hospitals With Safety Violations Still Get Accreditation," 26 Dec. 2018 My father, who supported my decision to cut off contact with my mother, was standing nearby. Anonymous, Good Housekeeping, "I Had to Choose Between Safety and My Mother," 21 Dec. 2018 Beyond the barrier, a few trucks are creeping toward the neighborhood on the other side that’s cut off by the water. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "I Drove a Pickup Full of Supplies to a Town Flooded by Florence, and Here Is What I Saw," 25 Sep. 2018 Homes and businesses cut off, flooded or torn apart by the wind. Fox News, "FEMA chief Brock Long on Hurricane Florence recovery efforts; Will allegation affect Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation?," 16 Sep. 2018 In a sneak peek from Sunday night’s episode, released by People, Gabe stands in the bucket of their skid-steer to cut off the top of several poles on their property. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "Rain Brown Takes on a Surprising New Job on ‘Alaskan Bush People’," 16 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of cutoff


1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cutoff

Statistics for cutoff

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cutoff

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!