What does the idiom "cut sb dead" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does cut sb dead mean? In what situations is cut sb dead used?

Meaning of "cut sb dead"


The phrase "cut sb dead" is an idiom that means to completely ignore or casually reject someone who is expecting your attention or company. It is a sign of intentional, deliberate behavior which goes beyond the simple absence of acknowledgement or politeness. People use the phrase "cut sb dead" to describe social interactions that are unforgivably rude or cold.


The phrase "cut sb dead" has its origins in the phrase "cut a person dead," which dates back to the early 1800s. The phrase likely came from a literal example of cutting someone off by walking past them without acknowledging them. Over time, the "cut sb dead" idiom has gained popularity as a way to describe a more figurative form of cutting someone off.


The phrase "cut sb dead" is most often used to describe a social situation. It is used when a person purposely ignores or rejects another person in a way that is not just a polite omission of acknowledgement. It is generally used to emphasize how rude and hurtful the behavior is. It can also be used to describe how a person feels after this type of rejection.

Example Sentences

  • The way he cut me dead in front of everyone was so degrading.
  • I don't know what I did wrong, but she totally cut me dead.
  • After the incident, she felt like he had cut her dead.
  • He didn't even give me a chance to apologize—he just cut me dead.
  • She walked away without saying a word—it was like she was trying to cut me dead.

The meanings of the words in the "cut sb dead" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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