Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cut the painter v.

[all f. naut. use, the painter is the rope that secures a small boat to a larger ship]

1. [mid-17C–mid-19C] to dismiss or send away a person.

2. [mid-19C+] to slip away clandestinely.

3. [mid-19C+] to die.

4. [1900s–10s] to bring something to an irrevocable conclusion.