Definition of cut verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; kʌt
cutting, cut, cut


1 [transitive, intransitive] to make an opening or a wound in something, especially with a sharp tool such as a knife or scissorscut something She cut her finger on a piece of glass.cut yourself He cut himself (= his face) shaving.cut something + adjective She had fallen and cut her head open.cut through something You need a powerful saw to cut through metal. (figurative) The canoe cut through the water.

remove with knife

2 [transitive] to remove something or a part of something, using a knife, etccut something (from something) He cut four thick slices from the loaf.a bunch of cut flowerscut somebody something I cut them all a piece of birthday cake.cut something for somebody I cut a piece of birthday cake for them all.3 [transitive] cut something (in something) to make or form something by removing material with a knife, etcThe climbers cut steps in the ice.Workmen cut a hole in the pipe.


4 [transitive] to divide something into two or more pieces with a knife, etccut something Don't cut the string, untie the knots.cut something in/into something He cut the loaf into thick slices.The bus was cut in two by the train.Now cut the tomatoes in half.

hair/nails/grass, etc.

5 [transitive] to make something shorter by cuttingcut something to cut your hair/nailsto cut the grass/lawn/hedgecut something + adjective He's had his hair cut really short.


6 [transitive] to allow somebody to escape from somewhere by cutting the rope, object, etc. that is holding themcut somebody (from something) The injured driver had to be cut from the wreckage.cut somebody + adjective Two survivors were cut free after being trapped for twenty minutes.


7 [transitive, usually passive] cut something + adjective to design and make a piece of clothing in a particular wayThe swimsuit was cut high in the leg.

able to cut/be cut

8 [intransitive] to be capable of cuttingThis knife won't cut.9 [intransitive] to be capable of being cutSandstone cuts easily.


10 [transitive] to reduce something by removing a part of itcut something to cut prices/taxes/spending/productionBuyers will bargain hard to cut the cost of the house they want.cut something by… His salary has been cut by ten per cent.cut something (from…) (to…) Could you cut your essay from 5000 to 3000 words?


11 [transitive] cut something (from something) to remove something from somethingThis scene was cut from the final version of the movie.


12 [intransitive, transitive] cut (something) to delete (= remove) part of a text on a computer screen in order to place it somewhere elseYou can cut and paste between different programs.


13 [transitive] cut something (informal) used to tell somebody to stop doing somethingCut the chatter and get on with your work!


14 [transitive] cut something to completely end a relationship or all communication with somebody
She has cut all ties with her family.He has refused to cut links with these companies.

in movie/TV

15 [transitive] cut something to prepare a film/movie or tape by removing parts of it or putting them in a different order
see also director's cut
16 [intransitive] (usually used in orders) to stop filming or recordingThe director shouted ‘Cut!’17 [intransitive] cut (from something) to something (in films/movies, radio or television) to move quickly from one scene to anotherThe scene cuts from the bedroom to the street.

miss class

18 [transitive] cut something (informal, especially North American English) to stay away from a class that you should go toHe's always cutting class.


19 [transitive] cut somebody to hurt somebody emotionallyHis cruel remarks cut her deeply.

in card games

20 [intransitive, transitive] cut (something) to lift and turn up a pack/deck of playing cards in order to decide who is to play first, etcLet's cut for dealer.


21 [transitive] cut something (of a line) to cross another lineThe line cuts the circle at two points.

a tooth

22 [transitive] cut a tooth to have a new tooth beginning to appear through the gumWhen did she cut her first tooth?

a disc, etc.

23 [transitive] cut a disc, etc. to make a recording of music on a record, CD, etcThe Beatles cut their first disc in 1962.


24 [transitive] cut something (with something) to mix an illegal drug such as heroin with another substance
Most idioms containing cut are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example cut your losses is at loss. 

cut and run

(British English, informal) to make a quick or sudden escape

(not) cut it

(informal) to (not) be as good as is expected or neededHe won't cut it as a professional singer.
Phrasal verbs

cut across something

1 to affect or be true for different groups that usually remain separateOpinion on this issue cuts across traditional political boundaries.2 (also cut through something) to go across something in order to make your route shorterI usually cut across the park on my way home.

cut something away (from something)

to remove something from something by cuttingThey cut away all the dead branches from the tree.

cut something back

1 (also cut back (on something)) to reduce somethingIf we don't sell more we'll have to cut back cut back on spending related noun cutback2 to make a bush, etc. smaller by cutting branches off
to cut back a rose bush

cut somebody down

(formal) to kill somebodyHe was cut down by an assassin's bullet.

cut something down

to make something fall down by cutting it at the baseto cut down a tree

cut something down (to…)


cut down (on something)

to reduce the size, amount or number of somethingWe need to cut the article down to 1000 words.The doctor told him to cut down on his drinking.I won't have a cigarette, thanks—I'm trying to cut down (= smoke fewer).

cut in

1 if a motor or an engine cuts in, it starts workingEmergency generators cut in.2 (North American English) (British English push in) to go in front of other people who are waiting

cut in (on somebody/something)

1 to interrupt somebody when they are speaking
butt in
She kept cutting in on our conversation.+ speech ‘Forget it!’ she cut in.
2 (of a vehicle or its driver) to move suddenly in front of another vehicle, leaving little space between the two vehicles

cut somebody in (on something)

(informal) to give somebody a share of the profit in a business or an activity

cut somebody off

1 [often passive] to interrupt somebody who is speaking on the telephone by breaking the connectionWe were cut off in the middle of our conversation.2 to refuse to let somebody receive any of your property after you die
He cut his son off without a penny.

cut somebody/something off

1 to interrupt somebody and stop them from speakingMy explanation was cut off by loud protests.2 [often passive] to stop the supply of something to somebodyOur water supply has been cut off.They were cut off for not paying their phone bill.

cut something off

1 (also cut something off something) to remove something from something larger by cuttingHe had his finger cut off in an accident at work. (figurative) The winner cut ten seconds off (= ran the distance ten seconds faster than) the world record. see also cut-off2 to block or get in the way of somethingThey cut off the enemy's retreat.The new factory cuts off our view of the hills.

cut somebody/something off (from somebody/something)

[often passive] to prevent somebody/something from leaving or reaching a place or communicating with people outside a placeThe army was cut off from its base.She feels very cut off living in the country.He cut himself off from all human contact.

cut out

if a motor or an engine cuts out, it suddenly stops working related noun cut-out

cut somebody out (of something)

to not allow somebody to be involved in somethingDon't cut your parents out of your lives.Furious, his mother cut him out of her will (= refused to let him receive any of her property after she died).

cut something out

1 to make something by cuttingShe cut the dress out of some old material. (figurative) He's cut out a niche for himself (= found a suitable job) in journalism. related noun cut-out2 to leave something out of a piece of writing, etc.
I would cut out the bit about working as a waitress.
3 (informal) used to tell somebody to stop doing or saying something annoyingI'm sick of you two arguing—just cut it out!4 to block something, especially lightTall trees cut out the sunlight.

cut something out (of something)

1 to remove something from something larger by cutting, usually with scissorsI cut this article out of the newspaper.2 to stop doing, using or eating somethingI've been advised to cut sugar out of my diet.

be cut out for something


be cut out to be something

(informal) to have the qualities and abilities needed for somethingHe's not cut out for teaching.He's not cut out to be a teacher.

cut through something

1 = cut across something2 (also cut something through something) to make a path or passage through something by cuttingThey used a machete to cut through the bush.The prisoners cut their way through the barbed wire.

cut up

(North American English, informal) to behave in a noisy and silly way

cut somebody up

(informal)1 to injure somebody badly by cutting or hitting themHe was very badly cut up in the fight.2 [usually passive] to upset somebody emotionallyShe was pretty cut up about them leaving.

cut somebody/something up

(British English) to suddenly drive in front of another vehicle in a dangerous way

cut something up

to divide something into small pieces with a knife, etcHe cut up the meat on his plate.
Usage noteUsage note: cutslash cut something back scale something back rationalize downsizeThese words all mean to reduce the amount or size of something, especially of an amount of money or a business.cut to reduce something, especially an amount of money that is demanded, spent, earned, etc. or the size of a business:The President has promised to cut taxes significantly. Buyers will bargain hard to cut the cost of the house they want. His salary has been cut by ten per cent. Could you cut your essay from 5000 to 3000 words?slash [often passive] (rather informal) (often used in newspapers) to reduce something by a large amount:The workforce has been slashed by half.cut something back/cut back on something to reduce something, especially an amount of money or business:We had to cut back production.scale something back (especially North American English or business) to reduce something, especially an amount of money or business:The IMF has scaled back its growth forecasts for the next decade.rationalize (British English, business) to make changes to a business or system, in order to make it more efficient, especially by spending less money.downsize (business) to make a company or organization smaller by reducing the number of jobs in it, in order to reduce costs. Downsize is often used by people who want to avoid saying more obvious words like ‘dismiss’ or ‘make redundant’ because they sound too cut/slash/cut back on/scale back/rationalize spending/productionto cut/slash/cut back on jobsto cut/slash/downsize the workforceto cut/slash/rationalize the cost of somethingto cut/slash prices/taxes/the budgetto cut something/slash something/cut something back drastically