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To skip certain steps in order to do something as easily or cheaply as possible, usually to the detriment of the finished product or end result. Don't cut corners on this project—it has to be done thoroughly, no matter the cost. If you cut corners and don't apply a top coat, then your nails probably are going to chip faster.
Fig. to take shortcuts; to save money or effort by finding cheaper or easier ways to do something. They're always finding ways to cut corners. I won't cut corners just to save money. I put quality first.
Do something in the easiest or least expensive way; also, act illegally. For example, Cutting corners in production led to a definite loss in product quality, or If the accountant cuts corners the auditors are sure to find out. This term alludes to rounding a corner as closely as possible in order to shorten the distance traversed and/or save time. [Late 1800s]
COMMON If you cut corners, you save time, money, or effort by not following the correct procedure or rules for doing something. Don't try to cut corners as you'll only be making work for yourself later on. He accused the Home Office of trying to save money by cutting corners on security. Note: You can call this activity corner cutting. It's precisely this sort of corner cutting that causes the problems. Corner-cutting contractors build tiny classrooms and narrow corridors.
cut cornersundertake something in what appears to be the easiest, quickest, or cheapest way, often by omitting to do something important or ignoring rules.
This phrase comes from cutting (off) the corner , which means ‘taking the shortest course by going across and not round a corner’.
cut ˈcorners(disapproving) do things in the easiest, quickest or cheapest way and not in the proper way: Don’t be tempted to cut corners when doing a home decorating job.
tv. to do something more easily; to take shortcuts; to save money by finding cheaper ways to do something. (As if one were speeding somewhere and took the shortest way possible through intersections, i.e., by making left turns that cut across oncoming traffic lanes.) I won’t cut corners just to save money. I put quality first.
To do something in the easiest or most inexpensive way.
cut corners, to
To do a hasty, slipshod job; also, to act illegally. The term comes from using a direct route that omits corners or from moving very fast and rounding turns very closely. It dates from about the middle of the nineteenth century. Mark Twain used it in Innocents Abroad (1869): “He cuts a corner so closely now and then . . . that I feel myself ‘scooching.’”
See also: cut