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b cutoffs plural : shorts originally made from jeans with the legs cut off at the knees or higher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

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

For MacNicol, like so many other women, 40 looms large as the biological cutoff for having children. Joanna Scutts,, "Childless, single, 40: Why is it a problem?," 12 July 2018 This week’s fireworks don’t change the March 2019 cutoff for the split. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Theresa May Brexit, Serena Williams Mom Guilt, Ivanka Trump Tariffs: Broadsheet July 10th," 10 July 2018 This can be especially tricky if their income is close to the cutoff for eligibility, which is 400 percent of the federal poverty level — $48,200 for a single person and $64,960 for a family of two like the Stapps. Catherine Ho,, "Affordable Care Act’s unexpected side effect: an IOU to the IRS," 8 July 2018 Ahead of Sunday’s Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Johnson is 12th in the driver standings, which is four spots above the cutoff for the 10-race, 16-driver playoffs in the fall. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Jimmie Johnson isn't worried about slumping season: 'I don’t need to prove myself'," 29 June 2018 Of the contenders, some are flirting with the cutoff for the competitive-balance tax, or luxury tax, of $197 million. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers' deadline dilemma: Find trade for Beltre or keep him for 2018, beyond," 24 June 2018 Note: All numbers are as of May 19, the cutoff for latest California financial reports. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "How California political ads fool voters, while candidates keep hands clean," 30 May 2018 Such bureaucracy discourages people from signing up in the first place and breeds resentment from those just above the cutoff. Bryce Covert, The New Republic, "A New Deal for Day Care," 1 May 2018 Senior Jessica Sun, a Chinese-American student, said students who missed the test cutoff might struggle at a high-pressure school like Stuyvesant. Washington Post, "Plan to diversify elite NYC schools draws fire from Asians," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The woman initially refused his solicitations, but Smith persisted and threatened to cut off her treatment, court records show. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Doctor gave patients drugs for sex. Now he's in trucking school to pay the bills.," 1 June 2018 If the transplant has a large top, remove about one-third of the plant’s top by cutting off the top of vigorous canes for several inches. Stan Davidson,, "With patience, blueberries can be grown in containers," 10 July 2018 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

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

19 Oct 2018

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

cutoffs : 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

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).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!