cut·​ting | \ ˈkə-tiŋ How to pronounce cutting (audio) \
plural cuttings

Definition of cutting

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something cut or cut off or out: such as
a : a plant section originating from stem, leaf, or root and capable of developing into a new plant
b : harvest
2 : something made by cutting especially : record sense 4
3 : self-harm in which a person purposely cuts or scratches the skin She [a young woman identified as "Kristen"] took occasional advantage of college-offered therapy in her sophomore year but also continued to cut herself. "For me—and for all the other cutters I know—cutting isn't about self-esteem, it's about control," Kristin explained. "… Cutting can be—and was for me—a cry for help: 'Look at me—I hurt so much I'm bleeding—help me stop this pain!'— Barrett Seaman



Definition of cutting (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : given to or designed for cutting especially : sharp, edged
2 : marked by sharp piercing cold cutting winds
3 : inclined or likely to wound the feelings of others especially because of a ruthless incisiveness a cutting remark
4 : intense, piercing a cutting pain

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cutting


cuttingly \ ˈkə-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce cuttingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for cutting

Synonyms: Noun

cut, slice

Synonyms: Adjective

biting, bitter, keen, penetrating, piercing, raw, sharp, shrewd, smarting, stinging

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of cutting in a Sentence


Take some cuttings from the plant and put them in water. a bag full of grass cuttings


He made a cutting remark about my family, and I haven't spoken to him since. a frigid day with a cutting wind that made it seem even colder
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Air Force’s solution aims the most cutting-edge sports technology at young airmen. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Changing How Special Ops Fighters Are Trained," 12 Feb. 2019 Ah, young love: For these flourishing couples, the fashion memo for 2018 was more cutting-edge streetwear and designer labels. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "The Fashion-Forward Couples Who Dominated 2018," 29 Nov. 2018 The features of the memory are only two nanometers across, and they can be separated by as little as 12nm—below the cutting edge of processor manufacturing. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Memristors built with 2-nanometer-thick parts," 14 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, Apple continues to push to the cutting edge of its tablet technology year after year. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "The MacBook Air needs Face ID and a delightful notch," 6 Nov. 2018 Sign up for the Backchannel newsletter Gadgets The iPhone X is packed with some of the most cutting edge smartphone tech, including its camera. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "Gadgets to Help You Shoot Pro-Quality Movies on Your iPhone," 1 July 2018 The conference offers the SOF community a place to interact with industry and to collaborate on the challenges, initiatives and way-ahead in delivering the most cutting-edge capabilities into the hands of SOF operators. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Northrop Grumman Investigates Worker For Allegedly Attending Charlottesville Rally," 6 July 2018 Electronics manufacturers and other industries are turning to nLight's fiber lasers to replace conventional cutting tools and older laser technologies. Mike Rogoway,, "Shares in laser manufacturer nLight have doubled since last month's IPO," 24 May 2018 And yet, filtered through the moral judgment of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and, indeed, Miss Jane Austen, her practical observations produce some of the most cutting lines in a novel full of them. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Colin Firth's Shirt: Jane Austen and the Rise of the Female Gaze," 17 July 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cutting

Statistics for cutting

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cutting

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cutting



English Language Learners Definition of cutting

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a stem, leaf, or root that is cut from a plant and used to grow a new plant



English Language Learners Definition of cutting (Entry 2 of 2)

: used for cutting things
: unpleasantly cold
: causing great physical pain


cut·​ting | \ ˈkə-tiŋ How to pronounce cutting (audio) \

Kids Definition of cutting

: a part (as a shoot) of a plant able to grow into a whole new plant

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cutting

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cutting

Spanish Central: Translation of cutting

Nglish: Translation of cutting for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cutting for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cutting

What made you want to look up cutting? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!