What does the idiom "Cutting corners" 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 Cutting corners mean? In what situations is Cutting corners used?

Meaning of "Cutting corners"


The term "cutting corners" means to take shortcuts or cheat in order to save time or money, usually in a way that detracts from the quality or integrity of the final product. It is used to refer to shortcuts that are not necessarily illegal, but are morally questionable.


The phrase is believed to have originated in the United States during the 19th century. Its exact origin is unknown, but it is likely derived from the architectural term "cutting a corner" which referred to a method used to create a curve when constructing an archway. The phrase is used in a much broader sense today, and is used to refer to anyone who takes shortcuts in order to gain an advantage while sacrificing quality.


The phrase "cutting corners" is commonly used in everyday conversations to refer to any method of taking shortcuts, or any shortcut itself. It can be used in either a positive or negative context depending on the context. It can be used to refer to taking a shortcut in a project in order to save time, or it can be used to refer to someone cheating in order to get ahead. It is also often seen in political discussions, when referring to a policy that sacrifices quality in order to save money.

Example Sentences

  • "John is always cutting corners when it comes to his projects - he never takes the time to do things properly."
  • "The company's policy on safety is so lax - they are cutting corners every chance they get."
  • "I don't want to cut corners, but if I can get the project done in half the time by taking a few shortcuts, then I'm going to do it."

The meanings of the words in the "Cutting corners" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


No comment has been written about Cutting corners yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply