1520s, "gash, incision," from cut (v.); meaning "piece cut off" is from 1590s; sense of "a wounding sarcasm" is from 1560s. Cold-cuts "cooked meats sliced and served cold" (1945) translates German kalter Aufschnitt.
late 13c., possibly Scandinavian, from North Germanic *kut- (source also of Swedish dialectal kuta "to cut," kuta "knife," Old Norse kuti "knife"), or from Old French couteau "knife." Replaced Old English ceorfan (see carve (v.)), sniþan, and scieran (see shear). Meaning "to be absent without excuse" is British university slang from 1794. To cut a pack of cards is from 1590s. Related: Cutting.
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