From Proto-Vietic *kac, from Proto-Mon-Khmer *kac. Cognate with Pacoh kéiq (“to pick, to pluck”), Ngeq kɛc, Khmer កាច់ (kac, “to break, to snap”), Bahnar kĕch (“to harvest”), Pnar khait (“to pick”), Kensiu kec. Related to gặt (“to harvest”).
Unrelated to Chinese 割 (OC *Cə-kˤat) (SV: cát), although the two are sometimes (incorrectly) considered connected.
The Austroasiatic root *kac originally referred to the action of "plucking" and "breaking", with "cutting" being secondary. Not to be confused with the similar-looking root *kat ~ *kaat (“to cut”), which gave rise to Khmer កាត់ (kat) and Korwa geɖ.
- to sever using a sharp object; to cut, snip, slit, trim, clip, shear, etc.
- sao chép, cắt và dán ― to copy, cut and paste
- (mathematics) to intersect
- đường thẳng d cắt đường thẳng f tại điểm B ― line d intersects line f at point B
Earlier forms bà cắt and bồ cắt are attested in various dictionaries as well as in Nôm texts.
- a falcon (bird of the genus Falco)
- nhanh như cắt ― very quick; very swift (literally, “as swift as a falcon”)