from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb nautical To sail away quickly by cutting the yarns that hold the sails furled.
  • verb by extension To hurry away; to escape.
  • verb military To abandon a position as quickly as possible.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • This term is the shortened form of the earlier phrases "cut and run away" and "cut and run off." The suggestion that it has a nautical derivation and that it refers to ships making a hasty departure by the cutting of the anchor rope and running before the wind isn't absolutely proven, although the earliest known citation does come from a seafaring context: Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, 1590, includes the line: "It a ship cut away upon the yielding wave."

    "Cut" may not necessarily relate to rope actually being cut, but may instead have been chosen in the sense of passing straight though or skipping (as in "to cut class").

    December 11, 2007

  • Some more info, reesetee (and others...):

    "To CUT and Run, is to cut the cable and make sail instantly, without waiting to weigh anchor.

    "If a ship shall cut, or slip, or part a cable, the captain is to use his endeavours to recover the anchor and cable that are lost; but if the ship put to sea, his senior officer left in the road is to use his utmost endeavours to recover them; but neither he, nor the captain of the ship to which such anchor belongs, is to hire any vessel or boat for the purpose of recovering it, if it can be done by any of his majesty's ships present.

    "If an anchor, &c. be left in a roadstead or harbour, the captain is to report the same to the commander in chief, or to the Navy Board, mentioning the bearings and distances of the nearest points of land from the spot where the anchor may lie. See the article To slip the CABLE."

    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 116

    October 14, 2008

  • Thanks, c_b. :-)

    October 14, 2008