The word ‘cut’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to remove or divide into pieces.

For example:

  • My scene was cut from the film. (remove)
  • I’ll cut the cake into 8 pieces. (divide)


Cut is an irregular verb. The past tense is cut and the past participle is cut.

idiomatic phrasal verbs

Did you know phrasal verbs are sometimes used in idioms? See if you can spot any. If you don’t know any phrasal verbs with ‘cut’, click here to learn them.

idioms list with ‘cut’

  • cut corners – take shortcuts to save time/money/effort
    e.g. If we cut a few corners, we could finish the project by the weekend.
  • cut from the same cloth – very similar
    e.g. Lucy lies just like her mother, you can tell they’re cut from the same cloth.
  • cut it fine – a very slight margin
    e.g. If we leave at 6, we’ll be cutting it fine. We should leave earlier.
  • cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face – perform a vengeful act that hurts oneself more than another person
    e.g. Lisa stopped me seeing the kids, she cut off her nose to spite her face. Now she has no free time to spend with her new boyfriend.
  • cut one’s losses – withdraw from a losing situation
    e.g. Gary and I have cut our losses, we’re getting divorced and selling the house.
  • cut the apron strings – allow someone to be independent
    e.g. We’ve cut the apron strings; the kids are old enough to look after themselves.
  • cut the mustard – meet expectations/the required standard
    e.g. I went to the new Chinese restaurant for supper, but it didn’t cut the mustard.
  • cut to the chase – get to the point
    e.g. She cut to the chase and asked me to lend her £1,000.
  • cut-throat – ruthless/relentless people or companies
    e.g. The fashion industry is cut-throat.
  • have one’s work cut out – a hard/difficult job/task
    e.g. Our colleague is on holiday, so we have our work cut out this week.

Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.

verb phrases - cut
idioms with cut - cut corners
Idioms with verbs - CUT - cut from the same cloth
idioms with cut - cut it fine
Idioms with verbs - CUT - cut off one's nose to spite one's face
Idioms with verbs - CUT - cut one’s losses
Idioms with verbs - CUT - cut the apron strings
idioms with cut - cut the mustard
idioms with cut - cut throat
Idioms with verbs - CUT - cut to the chase
verb phrases - have one's work cut out


Hey, did you know the verb ‘cut’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.

Am I right?


I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘cut’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.