cut down(redirected from cut them down)
1. Literally, to chop something down, as of a tree. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "down." Unfortunately, we'll have to cut down that old tree because the inspector thinks it could fall on our house in a bad storm.
2. To insult or disparage someone, often publicly. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is typically used between "cut" and "down." I can't believe she cut me down in front of the entire department just because I was a few minutes late to the meeting.
3. To undermine or debunk something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "down." Confirmation of the suspect's alibi cut my theory down pretty quickly.
4. To reduce something. My doctor told me that I need to cut down on eating fried foods in order to improve my cholesterol. If the school board cuts down on funding for the arts, then what will become of the theater program?
5. To remove the extras or adornments from something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "down." I like the apartment, but I need to cut down the decorations a little—it's much too fancy for me.
6. To kill someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "down." Oh, I'll cut down that informant before he speaks to the police again, don't worry. So many of our young men and women have been cut down by this needless war.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
cut someone down (to size)and take someone down (to size)
Fig. to make a person humble; to put one in one's place. John's critical remarks really cut me down to size. Jane is too conceited. I think her new boss will take her down to size.
cut someone down
to kill someone with a weapon, such as a sword, or with gunfire, etc. The bandits cut the bystanders down and fled. The gunman cut down an innocent pedestrian.
cut something down
1. Lit. to chop something down; to saw or cut at something until it is felled. Stop cutting the banners down! Don't cut down that tree!
2. Fig. to destroy someone's argument; to destroy someone's position or standing. The lawyer cut the testimony down quickly. The lawyer cut down the witness's story.
3. to reduce the price of something. They cut the prices down to sell the goods off quickly. I wish they would cut down the prices in this store.
cut down (on something)
to reduce the amount of something or of doing something; to use or buy less of something. You will have to cut down on the time it takes you to get ready in the morning. The doctor told him to cut down on his drinking.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Kill, as in The troops were cut down one by one as they crossed the field. [Early 1800s]
2. Also, cut down on. Reduce, decrease, as in I want to cut down my caffeine intake, or We have to cut down on our expenses. [Mid-1800s]
3. cut down to size; knock down to size. Reduce the self-importance of, humble, as in He's so arrogant-I wish someone would cut him down to size, or She really got knocked down to size when her class ranking slipped. [Early 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To chop something down: The loggers cut down trees from the forest. I cut the overgrown shrubs down.
2. To reduce the amount of something done, used, or taken: I need to cut down on shopping this month. They need to cut their drinking down. We've been gambling too much—we need to cut down.
3. To reduce something, as a price: They're cutting down all the prices at the mall. The company is cutting bonuses down this year.
4. To kill or incapacitate someone: The troops were cut down in battle. Before there were vaccines, many people were cut down by polio.
5. To belittle or discredit someone or something, especially in front of others: The boss cut me down in front of my subordinates. The prosecutor cut down the defendant's testimony.
6. To alter something by removing extra or additional fittings: The shop cut down my car for racing. Let's buy those old trucks and cut them down for work on the back roads.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.