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See also: cut out and cutout



Larger-than-life cutouts (sense 2.1) of celebrities in front of the Rose Theatre Brampton in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, in 2013
A cut-out (sense 1) of a dinosaur in black plywood made using a laser cutter
A cut-out (sense 5) in overhead electric power distribution wires. If an electrical fault occurs, the high current melts the fusible metal rod (left) in the cut-out, disconnecting the power.


cut +‎ out.



cut-out (plural cut-outs)

  1. A hole or space produced when something is removed by cutting. Also attributive.
    a dress with cut-out sides
    • 1874, Charles W. Hearn, “Medallion and Arch-top Printing”, in The Practical Printer. A Complete Manual of Photographic Printing. [...] Containing Full Details concerning All the Styles and Processes of Plain and Albumen Paper Printing and of Printing on Porcelain, with an Example of Printing by the Author, and nearly One Hundred Illustrations, Valuable to Both the Learner and the Practiced Printer, Philadelphia, Pa.: Benerman & Wilson, OCLC 166637342, page 66:
      Mr. John L[awrence] Gihon, a well-known photographer, knowing the difficulty which many have experienced in the making and use of the medallions, has made for the trade some very fine medallions and masks or cut-outs of different sizes.
    • 1995, “Buckling and Postbuckling Behaviour of Laminated Composite Plates with a Cut-out”, in G. J. Turvey and I. H. Marshall, editors, Buckling and Postbuckling of Composite Plates, London: Chapman & Hall, →ISBN, page 273:
      A basic characteristic of compression-loaded square isotropic plates with large cut-outs, that is somewhat counter-intuitive at first glance, is that under certain circumstances they exhibit higher buckling loads than corresponding plates without cut-outs.
    • 2007, Mathew [Timothy] Brown; Patrick Guthrie; Greg Growden, “Individual Skills”, in Rugby For Dummies, 2nd edition, Mississauga, Ont.: John Wiley & Sons Canada, →ISBN, page 152:
      When you pass the ball out along the line and deliberately skip the receiver next to you, it's called a cut-out pass []. The pass travels right in front of the adjacent player, but instead of reaching out and taking the ball, he fakes grabbing it and lets it fly by to the next player in the line. The phrase two-man cut-out means that the ball-carrier has thrown the ball past the first two players next to him in the attacking line, sending it instead to the third man in the line.
  2. A piece cut out of something.
    • 1866, William H. G. Kingston, “How to Make a Boy's Boat”, in Edmund Routledge, editor, Routledge's Every Boy's Annual. An Entertaining Miscellany of Original Literature, London; New York, N.Y.: George Routledge and Sons, The Broadway, Ludgate Hill; New York: 129, Grand Street, OCLC 952449735, page 275:
      Unless a boy is a very good carpenter, and has great patience and plenty of time at his command, I cannot advise him to attempt making a built model,—at all events, not until he has formed several cut-outs first. One of these "cut-outs" will serve as a model or form from which he may frame his "built vessel," with such modifications as he may deem necessary.
    • 2007, Joyce Kohfeldt, “Introduction”, in Math Activities Using Colorful Cut-outs: Grade 2, Greensboro, N.C.: Carson-Dellosa Publishing, →ISBN, page 5:
      When preparing an activity, simply copy the activity cards, cut them apart, and attach them to the cut-outs. If desired, laminate and cut out the assembled cut-outs for extra durability.
    1. A free-standing, rigid print (usually life-sized), often displayed for promotional purposes; a standee.
      • 2011, Jug Suraiya, “A Career of Pissing People Off”, in JS & the Times of My Life: A Worm's Eye View of Indian Journalism, Chennai: Tranquebar Press, →ISBN:
        The sentry didn't answer. Taking a closer look at him I realised he wasn't a real sentry but a cut-out sentry, guarding not a real but a cut-out border.
      • 2012 June 3, Nathan Rabin, “The Simpsons (Classic): ‘Mr. Plow[season 4, episode 9; originally aired November 19, 1992]”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 7 April 2016:
        The best of friends become the worst of enemies when Barney makes a hilarious attack ad where he viciously pummels a cardboard cut-out of Homer before special guest star Linda Ronstadt joins the fun to both continue the attack on the helpless Homer stand-in and croon a slanderously accurate, insanely catchy jingle about how "Mr. Plow is a loser/And I think he is a boozer."
  3. A trusted middleman or intermediary, especially in espionage.
    • 1943 November, Special Operations Executive (UK), “Organization”, in How to be a Spy: The World War II SOE Training Manual (Secret History Files), Toronto, Ont.; Tonawanda, N.Y.: Dundurn Press, published 2004, →ISBN, page 102:
      A cut-out, or intermediary, forms the link between two agents or between an agent and the outside world. He may know very little about the organization and just carry messages, or he may be a liaison officer who is able to answer questions and take decisions; but the important thing is that he should not undertake any other subversive activity. [] A cut-out should be able to contact inconspicuously each of the two agents between whom he is the link.
    • 1997, Duane R[amsdell] Clarridge; Digby Diehl, A Spy for All Seasons: My Life in the CIA, New York, N.Y.: Scribner, →ISBN, page 94:
      In alias, I recruited a fellow who worked for a foreign Communist installation (I thought this was a nice touch) to serve as our go-between, or cutout as it is called in the trade, []
  4. (computing) Clip art.
  5. (electronics) Any of several devices that halts the flow of a current, especially an electric current; a trip-switch or trip.
    • 1916, A[ndrew] L[ee] Dyke, “Instruction No. 27. The Electric Generator: Principle. Construction. Operation. Regulation”, in Dyke's Automobile and Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia. [...] Containing 366 Charts with a Dictionary and Index: Treating on the Construction, Operation and Repairing of Automobiles and Gasoline Engines, 5th rev. and enlarged edition, St. Louis, Mo.: A. L. Dyke, OCLC 8996560, figure 2 caption, page 338:
      The automatic magnetic cut out, opens the circuit between battery and generator when the generator is running slow or engine is stopped, also referred to as the "vibrator type" of cut out.
    • 2009, Rick Astley, “Charging System”, in Classic British Car Electrical Systems: Your Guide to Understanding, Repairing and Improving the Electrical Components (The Essential Manual), Dorchester, Dorset: Veloce Publishing, →ISBN, page 57:
      The semiconductor also enhances regulation of the charging system, the older dynamo being controlled by two or three relay-like devices: 1. a cut-out that disconnects the dynamo from the battery when the generated voltage drops below that of the battery, as is the case when the engine is not running.
    • 2016, John A. Tomczyk; Eugene Silberstein; William C. Whitman; William M. Johnson, “Automatic Control Components and Applications”, in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology, 8th edition, Boston, Mass.: Cengage Learning, →ISBN, page 355:
      [T]he cut-out of a control interrupts or opens the electric circuit. The cut-in closes the electric circuit, and the differential is the difference between the cut-in and the cut-out points. [] As you can see, the differential controls the pressure or temperature difference between the cut-in and cut-out settings.
  6. (telegraphy) A switch that changes the current from one circuit to another, or for shortening a circuit.
  7. (US) A railway cutting.
  8. (US, agriculture) The separation of a group of cattle from a herd; the place where they are collected.
    • 1958, Fay E. Ward, The Cowboy at Work: All about His Job and How He Does It, with 600 Detail Drawings by the Author, New York, N.Y.: Hastings House, OCLC 693584815, page 24:
      When the stray men have worked the herd, it is drove off a ways and turned loose. The calves in the cut-out groups are then branded and turned loose with their mothers; the strays are thrown into the stray herd or day herd.

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