1 /kVt/ verb past tense and past participle cut present participle cutting
1 DIVIDE WITH KNIFE ETC (T) to divide something into two or more pieces using a sharp tool such as a knife: Do you want me to cut the cake? | The thieves had cut the phone wires. | cut sth in half/in two: cut the orange in half | cut sth into quarters/pieces/four: Cut each one into about 6 pieces.
2 REMOVE A PIECE OF (T) to use a knife to remove a piece from the main part of something: cut sth: I cut another slice of bread. | cut sb sth: Cut me a big slice of that lemon cake, will you?
3 MAKE A SHAPE (T) to make something into a particular shape by using a sharp tool such as a knife: cut sth into chunks/rings etc: Cut the carrots into small cubes.
4 MAKE A HOLE (I, T) to make a hole in the surface of something, or to open it by using a sharp tool such as a knife
(+ into/through etc): a knife that will cut through glass | cut a hole in sth: Firefighters had to cut a hole in the car roof. | cut sth open: Ben cut the sack open in a great hurry to see what was inside.
5 GRASS/HAIR ETC (T) to make something shorter with a knife, scissors etc in order to improve its appearance: cut the lawn/the grass/the hedge: I think I'll cut the grass this afternoon if it doesn't rain. | have/get your hair cut (=pay someone to cut your hair): Where do you have your hair cut?
6 cut sb free/loose to allow someone to escape by using a knife to cut the rope that they are tied by
7 CROPS (T) to take the top part off crops such as wheat before gathering them: cutting corn
8 WOUND (T) to injure yourself when a sharp object or surface breaks open your skin so that you start bleeding: cut your finger/knee/hand etc: Be careful not to cut your fingers with that knife - it's very sharp. | cut yourself (on sth): I cut myself quite badly on a piece of glass. | cut sth open (=injure part of your body by cutting it on something): He fell and cut his head open.
9 REDUCE PRICES/TIME/MONEY ETC (T) to reduce something a lot, especially prices, time, or money: A secure home will cut the risk of burglary. | cut sth by a quarter/25% etc: Marston's is to cut its workforce by 20%. | cut sth off/from/to etc: The new direct service will cut 2 hours off the flying time between London and Seoul.
a) to reduce the length of a film, speech etc: The original version was cut by more than 30 minutes.
b) to remove part of a film, speech, or piece of writing, for example because it might offend people
c) to put the parts of a film together so that they make a continuous story and get rid of the parts you do not want
d) Cut! spoken said by the director of a film to tell everyone to stop acting, stop filming etc
11 DIVIDE AN AREA (T) to divide an area into two or more parts: cut sth in/into: The river cuts the valley in two.
12 PLAYING CARDS (I, T) to divide a pack of cards into two
13 MUSIC/RECORD (T) if a musician cuts a record, they make a record of their music
14 LINE (T) if a line cuts another line, they cross each other at a particular point
15 TOOTH if a baby cuts a tooth, the tooth starts to grow
16 cut your teeth on sth to get your first experience of doing something by practising on something simple
17 cut in line AmE to unfairly go in front of other people who are waiting to buy or do something; jump the queue BrE
jump1 (17)
18 cut class AmE informal to deliberately not go to a class that you should go to: I cut class to go hang out in the bar.
19 cut corners to do something in a way that is not perfect, in order to save time, effort, or money
20 cut sth short to stop doing something earlier than was planned: She had to cut short her vacation when she heard that her mother was ill.
21 cut sb short to stop someone from finishing what they wanted to say: I tried to explain, but he cut me short.
22 cut the crap spoken an impolite way of telling someone to deal only with the most important things without wasting time on unimportant details: I wish they'd cut the crap and get on with this meeting!
23 cut sb dead to deliberately ignore someone when you meet them: I saw Ian in town but he just cut me dead!
24 cut sb to the quick to upset someone very much by saying something cruel
25 cut the ground from under sb's feet to make someone or their ideas seem less impressive by having better ideas yourself, doing something before they do etc
26 cut your own throat to behave in a way that will harm you, especially because you are proud or angry: He'd just be cutting his own throat if he left now.
27 cut a fine figure/cut an odd figure etc literary to have an impressive, strange, etc appearance: Steve cut an odd figure in his cloak and Spanish riding hat.
28 it cuts both ways informal used to say that something has advantages but also disadvantages
29 cut the cord to stop depending on someone, especially your parents
30 cut and run informal to leave a situation suddenly when it becomes too difficult, especially when you should have stayed: Don't worry. He won't cut and run.
31 cut your losses to stop trying to do something that is already failing in order to prevent the situation becoming even worse
32 not cut the mustard AmE informal to not be good enough: Lawrence tries really hard but his work just doesn't cut the mustard.
33 ILLEGAL DRUG (transitive usually passive) to mix an illegal drug such as heroin with some other substance
34 cut your coat according to your cloth to spend only as much money as you can afford
35 cut no ice/not cut much ice if something cuts no ice with someone, it will not persuade them to change their mind: I don't expect anything I say will cut much ice with him.
-see also: cut a long story short story (12), cut a swathe through swathe 1 (4), cut it fine fine 3 (5) cut across phrasal verb (T)
1 to go across an area of land instead of going around it, in order to save time: Come on, if we cut across the field we'll get there before Frank.
2 if a problem or feeling cuts across different groups of people, they are all affected by it: The drug problem cuts across all social classes.
cut sth away phrasal verb (T) to remove the unwanted or unnecessary parts from something: Cut away all the dead wood. cut back phrasal verb
1 (intransitive, transitive cut back something) to reduce the numbers of something, or the time or money that is spent on something, especially because you do not have enough money: Defence spending is to be cut back.
(+ on): Many schools are cutting back on staff at the moment.
2 (transitive cut something back) to remove the top part of a plant in order to help it to grow: I must cut that holly bush back a bit.
-see also: cutback cut down phrasal verb
1 REDUCE (I, T) to reduce the amount of something that you eat, buy, use etc: You smoke too much - you should try to cut down. | cut sth down: The coal industry was cut down to half its former size.
(+ on): My doctor's told me to cut down on carbohydrates.
2 TREE (transitive cut something down) to cut through the trunk of a tree so that it falls on the ground
3 KILL/INJURE literary (transitive cut someone down) to kill or injure someone with a sword or gun: Our men were cut down by a hail of machine-gun fire.
4 MAKE SHORTER (transitive cut something down) to reduce the length of something such as a piece of writing: The essay's too long - it needs cutting down a little.
5 cut sb down to size to make someone realize that they are not as important, successful etc as they think they are
cut in phrasal verb
1 (I) to interrupt someone who is speaking by saying something
(+ on): I wish Marie would stop cutting in on our conversation all the time.
2 (I) to suddenly drive into the space between two moving cars in a dangerous way: This idiot cut in right in front of me.
3 (I) if a part of a machine cuts in, it starts to operate when it is needed: The safety device cuts in automatically when needed.
4 cut sb in on informal to allow someone to take part in a secret plan to make money: Come on, Joey, you said you were going to cut me in on this one!
cut off phrasal verb
1 PRICE OF STH (transitive cut something off) to separate something by cutting it from the main part: She cut off a big piece of meat. | One of his fingers was cut off in the accident.
2 STOP THE SUPPLY (transitive cut something off) to stop the supply of something such as electricity, gas, water etc: The electricity company are threatening to cut us off. | The US has cut off aid to Cambodia.
3 get cut off to suddenly not be able to hear someone that you were speaking to on the telephone: I don't know what happened - we just got cut off.
4 PLACE/PEOPLE (transitive cut someone/something off) to surround a place so that the people there are completely separated from other places or people: In winter the town is often cut off by snow. | They were cut off by the Russian army and forced to surrender.
5 STOP BEING FRIENDLY (transitive cut someone off) to stop having a friendly relationship with someone: Julia had been completely cut off by all her family and friends. | cut yourself off (from) (=avoid people): After his wife died he cut himself off completely from the rest of the world.
6 MONEY/PROPERTY (transitive cut someone off) to take away someone's right to receive your money or property, especially when you die: cut sb off without a penny: My parents have threatened to cut me off without a penny if I marry him.
7 STOP SB TALKING (transitive cut someone off) to prevent someone from finishing what they are saying: She cut me off in mid sentence.
8 be cut off
a) if a place is cut off, it is difficult to get to and is a long way from any other place: The village is so cut off from civilization that it receives almost no visitors.
b) if someone is cut off they are lonely because they are not able to meet people
(+ from): Mothers with very young children often feel cut off from the rest of the community.
9 cut off your nose to spite your face to do something because you are angry even though it will harm you
cut out phrasal verb
1 REMOVE STH (transitive cut something out) to remove something by cutting: I cut the advertisement out of the newspaper. | The surgeon cut out the tumour.
2 MAKE STH INTO A SHAPE (transitive cut something out) to cut a piece of paper, cloth etc so that it becomes a particular shape: The children were cutting out squares from the scraps of material.
3 PIECE OF WRITING/NEWS REPORT ETC (transitive cut something out) to take out part of a piece of writing, a news report etc, especially because it might offend people
4 STOP DOING STH (transitive cut something out) to stop doing or eating something, especially because it is harmful to you: If you cut out the drink you'd feel much healthier.
5 cut it/that out spoken used to tell someone to stop doing something because it is annoying you: Hey, you guys, cut it out - Mom's trying to get some sleep.
6 STOP SB FROM DOING STH (transitive cut someone out) to stop someone from doing something or taking part in something: Todd's injuries cut him out of being selected for the team.
7 MOTOR (I) if a motor cuts out, it suddenly stops working: The engine cut out halfway across the lake.
8 STOP STH BEING SEEN (T) to prevent light from reaching somewhere, or prevent a particular view from being seen: The tinted windows help cut out the glare from the sun.
9 cut sb out of your will to remove someone's name from the list of people who will receive your money or property when you die
10 be cut out for/cut out to be (usually in questions and negatives) to have the qualities that you need for a particular job or activity: In the end I decided I wasn't cut out for the army. | Are you sure you're really cut out to be a teacher?
-see also: have your work cut out work 2 (14) cut up phrasal verb
1 (transitive cut something up) to cut something into small pieces: His mother has to cut up all his food for him.
2 (I) AmE informal if a class cuts up, the students in it behave badly
3 be badly cut up to have a lot of injuries because you have been in an accident or fight
4 cut up (about sth) informal very upset because something bad has happened to you: She still seems very cut up about it.
5 cut up rough BrE informal to react in an angry or violent way
2 noun (C)
1 WOUND a wound that is caused when something sharp cuts your skin: The driver escaped with a few cuts and bruises.
2 HOLE/MARK a hole in something, or a mark in the surface of something, made by something sharp: The kitchen counter is covered with cuts.
3 REDUCTION (often plural) a planned reduction in the size or amount of something: job cuts/wage cuts/tax cuts etc: A shorter working week will mean pay cuts for millions of workers.
(+ in): a massive cut in public spending
4 HAIR (usually singular)
a) the act of cutting someone's hair: How much do they charge for a cut and blow-dry?
b) the style in which your hair has been cut
5 clothes (usually singular) the style in which your clothes have been made: From the cut of his suit, I'd say he was pretty wealthy.
6 MONEY informal (singular) someone's share of something, especially money: Investigators found that her cut of the profits amounted to more than 25%.
7 make a cut to remove part of a speech, piece of writing etc: The censors made several cuts.
8 FILM the process of putting together the different parts of a film and removing the parts that will not be shown: Spielberg himself oversaw the final cut.
9 the cut and thrust of the violent or unpleasant way in which a particular activity is done: the cut and thrust of international politics
10 be a cut above to be much better than someone else or something else: a cut above the rest: Just because she went to a private school, Jayne seems to think she's a cut above the rest of us.
11 MEAT a piece of meat that has been cut so that you can cook it: cuts of fresh lamb
12 ROAD AmE a road that has been made through a hill
-see also: power cut

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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