A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Cut the Gordian knot

Solve or remove a problem by simple, forceful action dates from the 1500s and derives from ancient Greek legend of Gordius, King of Phrygia who secure...

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Cut the ground from under someone’s feet

Withdraw support, expose or destroy their position, dates from the early 19th century.


Cut the mustard

To cut the mustard is American in origin and means to succeed or conform to the required standard, but is most often used in the negative form can’t c...

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Cut to pieces

To cut to pieces means to rout or defeat with great slaughter and dates in this sense from the late 17th century, from the obvious allusion of cutting...

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Cut to ribbons/shreds

Cut to ribbons is to destroy or defeat decisively, an Americanism dates from the early 19th century. Cut to shreds, another Americanism means the same...

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Cut to the chase

This expression meaning to get to the significant point or to the heart of the matter derives from the world of films where cutting refers to the edit...

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Cut to the quick

Quick in this sense means live tissue or flesh as in the biblical context of the quick and the dead, which means the living and the dead, and comes fr...

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Cut up, cut up rough, nasty etc

To be cut up is to be vexed, sorrowful or very upset and dates from the mid-19th century. This figurative meaning derives from the literal allusion of...

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Cut-throat

Literally of course, someone who is prepared to cut a throat, a murderous villain, dates from the 1500s. Its figurative usage as in employing ruthless...

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Cut/pare something to the bone

Reduce something to the bare minimum in the sense that all extraneous matter has been cut away leaving the bare bones. Sometimes appears as cut down t...

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Cute

Cute derives from acute, where through aphesis, the first letter of acute has been dropped. Cute meaning the same thing as acute dates from the mid-18...

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Cute as a button

see Bright as a button


Cuts no ice

Something or someone that cuts no ice has no credibility, influence, importance or relevance dates from America in the late 19th century before refrig...

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Cutting edge

The very latest, most up-to-date, the phrase dates from the early 1980s. See also leading edge.


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