Etymology
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cost (n.)

c. 1200, "price, value," from Old French cost "cost, outlay, expenditure; hardship, trouble" (12c., Modern French coût), from Vulgar Latin *costare, from Latin constare, literally "to stand at" (or with), with a wide range of figurative senses including "to cost," from an assimilated form of com "with, together" (see co-) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

The idiom is the same one used in Modern English when someone says something stands at X dollars to mean it "sells for X dollars." The meaning "equivalent price given for a thing or service rendered, outlay of money" is from c. 1300. Cost of living is from 1889. To count the cost "consider beforehand the probable consequences" is attested by 1800.

In phrases such as at all costs there may be an influence or echo of obsolete cost (n.) "manner, way, course of action," from Old English cyst "choice, election, thing chosen." Compare late Old English alre coste "in any way, at all."

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cost (v.)

"be the price of," also, in a general way, "require expenditure of a specified time or labor, or at the expense of (pain, loss, etc.)," late 14c., from Old French coster (Modern French coûter) "to cost," from cost (see cost (n.)). Related: Costing.

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cutting (n.)

mid-14c., "piece cut off;" late 14c., "act or fact of making incisions, action of cutting," verbal noun from cut (v.). Meaning "shoot or small bough bearing leaf-buds" is from 1660s. Meaning "slip cut from a newspaper or other print publication" is by 1856. Related: Cuttings.  Cutting-board is by 1819.

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cutting (adj.)

c. 1400, "penetrating or dividing by an edge," present-participle adjective from cut (v.). As "wounding or deeply affecting the feelings," 1580s. Related: Cuttingly.

Cutting-edge is by 1825 in the literal sense "cutting surface of a blade or tool" (often at first with reference to plows); figurative sense "highest or most advanced state of development" is from 1964.

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cost-effective (adj.)

also cost effective, 1967, from cost (n.) + effective.

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clear-cutting (n.)

"felling and removal of all the trees in a place," 1874, from clear (adj.) + cutting (n.), verbal noun from cut (v.).

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axe (v.)

1670s, "to shape or cut with an axe," from axe (n.). Figurative meaning "to remove" (a person, from a position), "severely reduce" (expenses) is recorded by 1922. The axe in figurative sense of cutting of anything (expenses, workers, etc.), especially as a cost-saving measure, is from 1922, probably from the notion of the headman's literal axe (attested from mid-15c.). Related: Axed; axing.

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cif 

also c.i.f., abbreviation of cost, insurance, freight, a trade term.

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-tomy 

word-forming element meaning "a cutting" (especially a surgical incision or removal), from Greek -tomia "a cutting of," from tome "a cutting, section" (from PIE root *tem- "to cut").

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gratuitously (adv.)

1690s, "without cause or reason," from gratuitous + -ly (2). From 1716 as "without cost to the recipient."

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