Cut and Run

Meanings of “Cut and Run”

The phrase “cut and run” means to flee, run away, or escape. The phrase is also used to describe a person who escapes a tough situation instead of facing them.

Origin of “Cut and Run”

The phrase “cut and run” is stated to have been linked to the earlier phrases of “cut and run off” or “cut and run away.”  Both suggest almost the same meanings of a ship lifting anchor and leaving the ports in hurry after some hurricane. However, it was first hinted at in The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spencer, published in 1590.

It was used in this form later by David Steel in his book, The Elements, and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship. The book was published in 1794 in which it goes thus; “To Cut and run, to cut the cable and make sail instantly, without waiting to weigh anchor.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

 Cut And Run by Slaves

You’re looking unwell
Put your feet up
You’re looking unwell
Cut and run
You’re looking unwell
You’re your father’s son

These short, crispy, and curt lines throw light on the person who is not looking well. The speaker asks him to leave the place as it may prove dangerous for him, for he is a father of a son, and he needs to support his family. The phrase occurs in the fourth line where it is used as a denotation.

Example #2

The Way We Live Now: 5-2-04: On Language; Cut and Run by William Safire from New York Times, May 2, 2004

‘We’re not going to cut and run,’’ said George W. Bush last month, ‘‘from the people who long for freedom.’’

The next day, John McCain asked rhetorically, ‘‘Is it the time to panic, to cut and run?’’ His answer, as you might expect, was, ‘‘Absolutely not.’’

And a week later, John Kerry used the ringing derogation as a compound adjective: ‘‘I don’t believe in a cut-and-run philosophy.’’

The passage from a newspaper talks about how the American soldiers leave after conquering a country. He cites Bush saying these words, vowing that the Americans would not “cut and run” with support from Senator John McCain and John Kerry stressing the same denotation of the phrase that the Americans do not do so, and do not believe in such a philosophy. The phrase has been used in its literal meanings.

Example #3

Cut & Run, Volume 1 by Madeleine Urban, Abigail Roux

In this first volume of the novel,  the story revolves around the struggle of two FBI agents pursuing a case of a serial of murders in New York. Although they are different in character, Ty Grady, cocky and abrasive, while Zane Garret, sober and serious; both find themselves in this odd situation, looking for the murderers nowhere. Both have to figure out how to catch the person in question. Therefore, the cut and run phrase is used in metaphorical extension through this long story.

Example #4

Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad by David Zucchino

After the storm of RPGs on Highway 9, it seems to Gaines that fighting had suddenly tapered off. The gunshots and explosions had nearly ceased. He began to think that they had survived the worst of it – that they were nearly home free, that the enemy had cut and run. Then he realized that he had somehow jostled the switch on his communications helmet and cuts off all outside noise.

These lines talk about the author who served in the American armed strike corps in Baghdad during the early hours of the battle and then long skirmishes with the Iraqi dissidents. He tells about his colleague, Gaines, that after he has emerged from the storm of the rocket launchers, it seems that all the insurgents have escaped. The phrase has been used as a direct sense to show its literal meanings.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Most of the soldiers in their regiment are expert in their job of cutting and running. This was the reason why they continually lost battles in the past decade.”

Example #2: “When working in the military culture, Samuel was always angry about being asked to cut and run. He believed in fighting it out and retiring honorably.”

Example #3: “After being caught in the act of forgery, Ronald’s first instinct was to cut and run. Alas, he failed! The police had him in a tight grip.”

Example #4: “The cut and run culture of this police force does not make it a police force; rather it makes it an excellent running force.”

Example #5: “Harry called her a coward at her habit of cutting and running at the very sign of fights and arguments. He believed in staying and making their marriage work.”