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cut (v.)

c. 1300, "to make, with an edged tool or instrument, an incision in; make incisions for the purpose of dividing into two or more parts; remove by means of a cutting instrument;" of an implement, "have a cutting edge," according to Middle English Compendium from a presumed Old English *cyttan, "since ME has the normal regional variants of the vowel." Others suggest a possible Scandinavian etymology from North Germanic *kut- (source also of Swedish dialectal kuta "to cut," kuta "knife," Old Norse kuti "knife"), or that it is from Old French couteau "knife."

It has largely displaced Old English ceorfan (see carve (v.)), snian, and scieran (see shear). The past participle is also cut, though cutted sometimes has been used since Middle English.

From early 14c. as "to make or fashion by cutting or carving." From c. 1400 as "to intersect or cross." From early 15c. as "abridge or shorten by omitting a part."

Meaning "to wound the sensibilities of" is from 1580s (to cut the heart in the same sense is attested from early 14c.). Sense of "sever connection or relations with" is from 1630s.

Meaning "to be absent without excuse" is British university slang from 1794. Colloquial or slang sense of "move off with directness and rapidity" is from 1580s. Meaning "divide (a deck of cards) at random into parts before the deal" to prevent cheating is from 1530s.

Meaning "to dilute, adulterate" (liquor, etc.) is by 1930. Colloquial sense of "to divide or share" is by 1928, perhaps an image from meat-carving at table. As a director's call to halt recording or performing, by 1931 (in an article about Pete, the bulldog with the black-ringed eye in the Hal Roach studios shorts, who was said to know the word). The sense of "perform, execute" (c. 1600) is in cut capers "frisk about;" cut a dash "make a display."

To cut down is from late 14c. as "to fell;" by 1821 as "to slay" (as with a sword); 1857 as "to curtail." To cut (someone or something) down to size is from 1821 as "reduce to suitable dimensions;" the figurative sense, "reduce to the proper level of importance," is by 1927.

To cut in "enter suddenly and unceremoniously" is from 1610s; sense of "suddenly join in conversation, interrupt" is by 1830. To cut up "cut in pieces" is from 1570s. To cut back is from 1871 as "prune by cutting off shoots," 1913 in cinematography, "return to a previous scene by repeating a part of it," 1943 as "reduce, decrease" (of expenditures, etc.). To cut (something) short "abridge, curtail, interrupt" is from 1540s.

In nautical use to cut a feather (1620s) is to move so fast as to make water foam under the bow. To cut and run (1704) also is originally nautical, "cut cable and set sail immediately," as in an emergency, hence, generally, "to make off suddenly."

To cut the teeth "have the teeth grow through the gums" as an infant is from 1670s. To cut both ways in the figurative sense of "have a good and bad effect" is from c. 1600. To cut loose "set (something) free" is by 1828; intransitive sense "begin to act freely" is by 1909.

Cut it out "remove (something) by or as if by cutting" yielded a figurative use in the command cut it out! "Stop! That's enough!" by 1933. The evolution seems to have begun earlier. A piece attributed to the Chicago Live Stock World that made the rounds in trade publications 1901-02 begins:

When you get 'hot' about something and vow you are going to rip something or somebody up the back--cut it out.
If you feel disposed to try the plan of building yourself up by tearing some one else down--cut it out.

Playing on both senses, it ends with "Should you, after reading this preachy stuff, fear you might forget some of the good advice--cut it out."

cut (n.)

mid-15c., "a certain length" of something; 1520s, "gash, incision, opening made by an edged instrument," from cut (v.).

Meaning "piece cut off" (especially of meat) is from 1590s. Figurative sense of "a wounding sarcasm" is from 1560s. Meaning "an excision or omission of a part" is from c. 1600. Sense of "a reduction" is by 1881. Meaning "manner in which a thing is cut" is from 1570s, hence "fashion, style, make" (1580s).

Dialectal or local sense of "a creek or inlet" is from 1620s. Meaning "channel or trench made by cutting or digging" is from 1730. Meaning "block or stamp on which a picture is engraved" is from 1640s. Sense of "act of cutting a deck of cards" is from 1590s. Cinematic sense of "a quick transition from one shot to the next" is by 1933. Meaning "share" (of profit, loot, etc.) is by 1918.

Meaning "phonograph recording" is by 1949; the verb in the sense "make a recording" is by 1937, from the literal sense in reference to the mechanical process of making sound recordings.

Instead of a cutting tool actually operated by the sound vibrations from the voices or instruments of performing artists, the panatrope records are cut by a tool that is operated electrically. ["The New Electric Phonograph," "Popular Science," February 1926]. 

A cut above "a degree better than" is from 1818. Cold-cuts "cooked meats sliced and served cold" (1945) translates German kalter Aufschnitt.

cut (adj.)

"formed or fashioned as if by cutting or carving," 1510s, past-participle adjective from cut (v.). Meaning "hewn, chiseled" (of stone, etc.) is from 1670s. Meaning "gashed with a sharp instrument" is from 1660s.

Cut and dried is by 1770 in the figurative sense "routine, boring," a reference to herbs in shops as opposed to growing in the wild.

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Definitions of cut from WordNet
1
cut (v.)
separate with or as if with an instrument;
cut (v.)
cut down on; make a reduction in;
The employer wants to cut back health benefits
Synonyms: reduce / cut down / cut back / trim / trim down / trim back / bring down
cut (v.)
turn sharply; change direction abruptly;
The car cut to the left at the intersection
Synonyms: swerve / sheer / curve / trend / veer / slue / slew
cut (v.)
make an incision or separation;
cut along the dotted line
cut (v.)
discharge from a group;
The coach cut two players from the team
cut (v.)
form by probing, penetrating, or digging;
cut a hole
cut trenches
The sweat cut little rivulets into her face
cut (v.)
style and tailor in a certain fashion;
cut a dress
Synonyms: tailor
cut (v.)
hit (a ball) with a spin so that it turns in the opposite direction;
cut a Ping-Pong ball
cut (v.)
make out and issue;
cut a ticket
Synonyms: write out / issue / make out
cut (v.)
cut and assemble the components of;
cut recording tape
Synonyms: edit / edit out
cut (v.)
intentionally fail to attend;
cut class
Synonyms: skip
cut (v.)
be able to manage or manage successfully;
she could not cut the long days in the office
Synonyms: hack
cut (v.)
give the appearance or impression of;
cut a nice figure
cut (v.)
move (one's fist);
his opponent cut upward toward his chin
cut (v.)
pass directly and often in haste;
We cut through the neighbor's yard to get home sooner
cut (v.)
pass through or across;
The boat cut the water
cut (v.)
make an abrupt change of image or sound;
cut from one scene to another
cut (v.)
stop filming;
cut a movie scene
cut (v.)
make a recording of;
She cut all of her major titles again
cut the songs
cut (v.)
record a performance on (a medium);
cut a record
cut (v.)
create by duplicating data;
cut a disk
Synonyms: burn
cut (v.)
form or shape by cutting or incising;
cut paper dolls
cut (v.)
perform or carry out;
cut a caper
cut (v.)
function as a cutting instrument;
This knife cuts well
cut (v.)
allow incision or separation;
This bread cuts easily
cut (v.)
divide a deck of cards at random into two parts to make selection difficult;
Wayne cut
She cut the deck for a long time
cut (v.)
cause to stop operating by disengaging a switch;
cut the engine
Synonyms: switch off / turn off / turn out
cut (v.)
reap or harvest;
cut grain
cut (v.)
fell by sawing; hew;
The Vietnamese cut a lot of timber while they occupied Cambodia
cut (v.)
penetrate injuriously;
The glass from the shattered windshield cut into her forehead
cut (v.)
refuse to acknowledge;
She cut him dead at the meeting
Synonyms: ignore / disregard / snub
cut (v.)
shorten as if by severing the edges or ends of;
cut my hair
cut (v.)
weed out unwanted or unnecessary things;
We had to lose weight, so we cut the sugar from our diet
cut (v.)
dissolve by breaking down the fat of;
soap cuts grease
cut (v.)
have a reducing effect;
This cuts into my earnings
cut (v.)
cease, stop;
cut the noise
We had to cut short the conversation
Synonyms: cut off
cut (v.)
reduce in scope while retaining essential elements;
cut (v.)
lessen the strength or flavor of a solution or mixture;
cut bourbon
Synonyms: dilute / thin / thin out / reduce
cut (v.)
have grow through the gums;
The baby cut a tooth
cut (v.)
grow through the gums;
The new tooth is cutting
cut (v.)
cut off the testicles (of male animals such as horses);
Synonyms: geld
2
cut (n.)
a share of the profits;
everyone got a cut of the earnings
cut (n.)
(film) an immediate transition from one shot to the next;
the cut from the accident scene to the hospital seemed too abrupt
cut (n.)
a trench resembling a furrow that was made by erosion or excavation;
Synonyms: gash
cut (n.)
a step on some scale;
he is a cut above the rest
cut (n.)
a wound made by cutting;
he put a bandage over the cut
Synonyms: gash / slash / slice
cut (n.)
a piece of meat that has been cut from an animal carcass;
Synonyms: cut of meat
cut (n.)
a remark capable of wounding mentally;
the unkindest cut of all
Synonyms: stinger
cut (n.)
a distinct selection of music from a recording or a compact disc;
he played the first cut on the cd
Synonyms: track
cut (n.)
the omission that is made when an editorial change shortens a written passage;
Synonyms: deletion / excision
cut (n.)
the style in which a garment is cut;
a dress of traditional cut
cut (n.)
a canal made by erosion or excavation;
cut (n.)
a refusal to recognize someone you know;
Synonyms: snub / cold shoulder
cut (n.)
in baseball; a batter's attempt to hit a pitched ball;
he took a vicious cut at the ball
Synonyms: baseball swing / swing
cut (n.)
(sports) a stroke that puts reverse spin on the ball;
cuts do not bother a good tennis player
Synonyms: undercut
cut (n.)
the division of a deck of cards before dealing;
he insisted that we give him the last cut before every deal
the cutting of the cards soon became a ritual
Synonyms: cutting
cut (n.)
the act of penetrating or opening open with a sharp edge;
his cut in the lining revealed the hidden jewels
Synonyms: cutting
cut (n.)
the act of cutting something into parts;
his cutting of the cake made a terrible mess
his cuts were skillful
Synonyms: cutting
cut (n.)
the act of shortening something by chopping off the ends;
the barber gave him a good cut
Synonyms: cutting / cutting off
cut (n.)
the act of reducing the amount or number;
the mayor proposed extensive cuts in the city budget
cut (n.)
an unexcused absence from class;
he was punished for taking too many cuts in his math class
3
cut (adj.)
separated into parts or laid open or penetrated with a sharp edge or instrument;
cut tobacco
blood from his cut forehead
bandages on her cut wrists
the cut surface was mottled
cut (adj.)
fashioned or shaped by cutting;
a well-cut suit
cut diamonds
cut velvet
cut (adj.)
with parts removed;
the drastically cut film
Synonyms: shortened
cut (adj.)
(of pages of a book) having the folds of the leaves trimmed or slit;
the cut pages of the book
cut (adj.)
(of a male animal) having the testicles removed;
a cut horse
Synonyms: emasculated / gelded
cut (adj.)
(used of rates or prices) reduced usually sharply;
Synonyms: slashed
cut (adj.)
mixed with water;
sold cut whiskey
Synonyms: thinned / weakened
cut (adj.)
(used of grass or vegetation) cut down with a hand implement or machine;
Synonyms: mown
cut (adj.)
made neat and tidy by trimming;
Synonyms: trimmed
From wordnet.princeton.edu