cut down

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cut 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.
See also: cut, down

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.
See also: cut, down

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.
See also: cut, down

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.
See also: cut, down

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.
See also: cut, down

cut down

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]
See also: cut, down

cut down

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.
See also: cut, down
References in periodicals archive ?
Kushner cut us down at the knees with this captivating book about a woman serving two consecutive life sentences.
"We had some chances out there today to change the momentum of the game and the momentum of the !rst half, but the way the Catalans defended and scrambled to defend their line - they held us up a couple of times over the line and it looked like we were going to go over a few times and they just cut us down at the last minute.
The German machine guns cut us down like a scythe cutting corn.
Bausch has noted, stories define our humanity, lend identity to tribes and nations, ask our questions, pose our problems, cut us down to size and dangle mystery before our eyes (Touching the Heart, Twenty-Third Publications, 2009).
Now that clubs know we are the real business they'll be out to cut us down to size.
We may act like it, we may often write like it, but when it comes down to it we know that whatever we write, some clever-clogs can hit the "comment" button and cut us down to size.
I NOTE that David Faulkner, pictured, the Liberal Democrat leader of Newcastle City Council, has already sought to distance himself from the forthcoming damaging consequences of the Coalition Government spending cuts that will do so much harm to the region ('Don't Cut Us Down', Chronicle, October 7).
If we play the same way every time, teams will cut us down," he said.
"Their defence cut us down and they were just too strong in the end," Otto said.
"We were 2-0 down and came back but the referee gave a silly penalty against us which cut us down."
It was a statement that was intended to cut us down to size, but the evidence is that he would not be belittle us in quite the same way today.
ALTHOUGH I sympathise, deeply sympathise, with Coun David Faulkner of Newcastle City Council (Don't cut us down, Evening Chronicle, October 7), just where on earth does he get the idea from that someone as deeply, deeply, resolutely, unprincipled as any Liberal/LibDem could ever give one iota of care to Newcastle's finances?
The barman cut us down a ripe coconut from the tree, slashing it open, splashing in some rum and popping in a straw, before serving us up the fruit inside.
We made a lot of breaks, but they cut us down and then we had to try and finish that.