cut (one) off at the pass

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cut (one) off at the pass

To keep one from doing something (that usually involves an escape). Jeremy has been acting suspicious, so he's probably going to try to sneak out tonight, but I'm going to cut him off at the pass.
See also: cut, off, pass
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cut someone off at the pass

Fig. to block someone's effort to get away; to thwart someone's efforts. They are ahead now, but we'll cut them off at the pass. Try to cut off the bandits at the pass!
See also: cut, off, pass
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cut off at the pass, to

To stop or intercept. This expression comes from chase sequences in western movies of the 1930s and 1940s, in which pursuers (usually the “good” cowboys) would try to intercept their quarry (the outlaws) at a mountain pass. It gradually was extended to other endeavors. According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Phrase and Fable, in 1973 President Richard Nixon used the term on the Watergate tapes, saying that the charge of obstructing justice might be cut off at the pass.
See also: cut, off, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
So Dons owner Pete Winkelman cut them off at the pass. Seeking out the Premier League talent-spotters who had congregated at the Dons on match day, he issued the friendliest of 'hands off' warnings with a sting in the tail: it will cost "millions and millions" to prise heavyweight contender Alli from them.
Now the intention for me is to get in there, to cut them off at the pass," said Joseph.
To counter this Blanche said she would often, "get there first and be really funny and cut them off at the pass".