cut and run

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cut and run (third-person singular simple present cuts and runs, present participle cutting and running, simple past cut and ran, past participle cut and run)

  1. (nautical) To cut the anchor cable and not wait to weigh it.
  2. (by extension) To hurry away; to escape.
    • 2004 November 11, Tobias Webb, quoting Paul Pressler, “Gap pledges not to 'cut and run'”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Gap, the US clothing giant, will not "cut and run" when an international textile agreement ends next year, threatening the closure of hundreds of factories in the developing world, the company's chief executive said last night.
    • 2017 May 3, Helena Kennedy, “You can’t just cut and run from Europe, Theresa May – it’s illegal”, in The Guardian[2]:
      Calls to cut and run without paying a penny in the Brexit settlement are unlawful and unethical.
  3. (military) To abandon a position as quickly as possible.
    They held on as long as they could, but when the heavy artillery fire started, they had to cut and run.
    The President laid out the scenario we face if the United States decides to cut and run.
    • 2006 December 18, Patrick Wintour, quoting Tony Blair, “UK will not cut and run in fight for democracy, troops told”, in The Guardian[3]:
      Mr Blair promised that the UK would not "cut and run". "Don't be under any doubts at all, British troops remain until the job is done and that job is moving up the Iraqi capabilities so that, for example, in Basra Iraqi forces can carry out the security work."

Derived terms



  • The Elements and Practice of Rigging, Seamanship, and Naval Tactics, by David Steel, 1974.
  • The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, Oxford University Press, 1976.
  • cut and run”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.