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b cutoffs plural : shorts originally made from jeans with the legs cut off at the knees or higher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

cut off; cutting off; cuts 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

For adults 26 to 64, 10 hours may be appropriate, but that’s the cutoff, the NSF says. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "How Much Sleep Do I Need?," 21 Mar. 2019 For context, many states impose age cutoffs for entry to kindergarten. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Kids who start kindergarten young are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD," 17 Dec. 2018 So while early adopters will have to put up with the bars, hopefully the March cutoff should encourage developers to optimize their software for Apple’s latest iPhone and iPad screens. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Netflix updated its app to resolve an early annoyance with Apple’s new iPad Pro," 12 Nov. 2018 The news, reported earlier today by DroidLife, is now official, following months of rumors that this summer would be the cutoff for 3G phones on Verizon. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Verizon has stopped activating phones that don’t support LTE on its network," 17 July 2018 With the widening political space and returning opposition voices, ethnic and other tensions have flared and human rights groups have warned against a return to the repressive tactics of mass arrests and internet cutoffs. Sylvie Corbet, The Seattle Times, "French president backs Ethiopia leader’s sweeping reforms," 29 Oct. 2018 The upper and lower sections of the spillway were covered with structural concrete and cutoff walls installed on the sides. Ralph Ellis, CNN, "Rain may put Oroville Dam's partially repaired spillway to the test," 6 Apr. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At least to 20 mph, where the boost cuts off on my Riese & Muller. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "E-Biking My Way Through New York's Five Boro Bike Tour," 9 May 2019 Later, though, a different representative told her that the machines that drop the chocolate sometimes malfunction, cutting off the tip, suggesting that the snipped kisses are not, in fact, intentional. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "2018 was a difficult year for cookies," 21 Dec. 2018 The paramilitaries had appeared, cutting off the only exit from Divine Mercy, and firing at the remaining barricade just outside the church. Joshua Partlow,, "Inside the church where Nicaraguan paramilitaries laid siege on university students," 14 July 2018 Those fears were compounded when a neighbor sent an e-mail to the community that the person had seen construction workers cutting off the water supply to the property, which must happen before a demolition. Jamie Halper,, "Roxbury church gets new chance at preservation," 11 July 2018 SciresM suspects that Nintendo has used the iPatch system on the system's Nvidia Tegra chip to burn new protective code into the boot ROM, cutting off the USB recovery mode overflow error that previously let hackers in. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Nintendo reportedly rolling out new, more hack-resistant Switch hardware," 11 July 2018 Right after the game ended, the violence erupted with crowds in several major cities setting up fiery barricades with tires cutting off major roads. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "As violent protests continue over gas prices, U.S. airlines cancel all flights to Haiti," 7 July 2018 But cutting off the updates also caused a spike of anxiety in most of his subjects, who reported feeling fears of missing out (FOMO in millennial speak). Author: William Wan, Anchorage Daily News, "Rebel developers are trying to cure our smartphone addiction – with an app," 18 June 2018 Mr Biya’s government responded by arresting activists and cutting off the internet in English-speaking regions. The Economist, "Repression is worsening in Cameroon amid an uprising over language," 31 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

18 May 2019

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
: 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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