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

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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Plans to move the USDA agencies — the Economic Research Service, a statistical agency, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds cutting-edge agricultural science — to Kansas City intensified Democrats’ frustration. Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post, "Democrats running out of options to stop Trump from moving two USDA offices," 1 July 2019 Lady Gaga is undoubtedly a fashion innovator and boundary-pushing artist whose proclivity for rocking bold and cutting-edge clothing has cemented her place in the fashion industry as a genuine style star. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga Looked Ravishing in a Sequined Naked Dress on Jimmy Kimmel Live!," 28 Feb. 2019 The web of lies woven to explain away a sudden lack of lines, the hefty pricetag of a cutting edge procedure, or a long weekend spent on lockdown at home can be rather impressive. Liz Krieger, Town & Country, "The Stealthy Lies People Tell to Cover up Their Plastic Surgery," 26 Feb. 2019 After a brilliant start to the season that saw Sarri's men keep pace with Premier League champions Manchester City and Champions League winners Liverpool, Chelsea fans soon rebelled at a ponderous possession game with little cutting edge., "Juventus move concludes Sarri's rocky stint at Chelsea," 14 June 2019 Nearly 550 positions at the Economic Research Service, a statistical agency, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds cutting-edge agricultural science, are expected to be moved before year’s end. Ben Guarino,, "Plan to move USDA research agencies to Kansas City region draws fire," 13 June 2019 That, coupled with plenty of possession but very little cutting edge, seemed to set up a disappointing evening for the Flying Dutchmen, whose fans were reportedly outnumbered six to one inside the ground., "Netherlands 3-1 England: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Oranje Reach Nations League Final," 6 June 2019 Rockefeller made his fortune through integrating businesses, Tata by creating them; Rockefeller flourished at the cutting edge of the Second Industrial Revolution, Tata under Great Britain’s imperial thumb; Rockefeller... Maxwell Carter, WSJ, "‘The Tatas’ Review: The Mogul’s Empire," 20 May 2019 Boring’s plan is by far the most cutting edge of the bunch, in keeping with Musk’s penchant for investing in new technology. John Byrne,, "Emanuel calls Elon Musk's proposed 12-minute express tunnel to O'Hare 'the fast lane to Chicago's future'," 14 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of cutting


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for cutting

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Time Traveler for cutting

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

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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

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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).


something desired as essential

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