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 need to cut down this souped-up car—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.
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 ?
THE horrific and widely publicised floods of late have surely cut the majority of us down to size, reminding us of our helplessness at such times, as mighty cosmic forces are unleashed.
Each of the students has adopted one of the 90-plus rose bushes at the school entrance, but feeding and watering and deadheading are a lot different from taking a pair of shears and cutting their bushes down to size.
It needs to evolve steadily, and a lot of problems Romer has ignored - like cutting the bloated bureaucracy down to size, developing a transparent budgeting process and empowering local communities - need to be fixed.
THEY might have cut Islamic terror groups in Chad down to size but apparently the Army are not allowed to cut the grass in the Curragh camp.
Through a magic potion they shrink him down to size and make him live like an ant to learn their ways - a remarkable journey into a strange new world that teaches him about friendship and teamwork and gives him the courage to stand up for himself.
Smith wanted to bring the striker down to size and word of his opinion that he was a big head got back to the striker.
IT all began so well at Exeter on Tuesday with Allthekingshorses' win, but no-one is bigger than this game and Richard Johnson and myself were soon knocked down to size.
For a grease paper filter, new sheets may need cutting down to size so you should retain the old piece and use it as a guide.
And Napoleon at 5-foot-6 briefly ruled the world, until that Waterloo thing cut him down to size.
Nationalists have shouted louder, moaned more and brought governing bodies down to size for far longer and far harder than the Ulster Scots.
KATIE HOLMES cut hubby Tom Cruise down to size by towering above him on a red carpet.
Liam Fox, co-chairman of the Conservative Party: 'It is obvious voters want to cut Blair down to size and make him more accountable
The underlying liberal vision was that private property was the instrument of individuals of privilege and power, which had to be cut down to size by an alert legislature that had the interests of the little man at heart.
Emmerdale (ITV1):Nicola brings Laurel down to size and Bob gets carried away with his plans for the pub.
But when he finds his former rival is tipped to win the championship, Phil is determined to cut him down to size.