Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cut it v.3

[ext. cut v.5 (2)]

1. (orig. US) to manage, to deal with (difficult) situations; to suffice, to satisfy.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 62: Hello, there, pal [...] how’re you cuttin’ it this morning?
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 137: ‘Can’t cut it,’ said the turnkey.
[US]R.B. Nye ‘A Musician’s Word List’ in AS XII:1 46: cut it, v. To be able to play expertly. ‘This arrangement is so tough my band can’t cut it.’.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 637: He tried to teach me, but I couldn’t cut it.
[US]J. Lahr Hot to Trot 198: He couldn’t cut it. He didn’t have the drive.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 14: Somebody was always jumpin’ off the roof [...] some Rican who couldn’t cut it on the street.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 148: I wasn’t sure I would cut it.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 197: In those days he could cut it.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 93: Well, five thousand dollars isn’t going to cut it anymore.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 277: Prowling for women didn’t cut it.
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 107: If we couldn’t cut it on the force that would be us in deep shit.
[UK]Guardian 8 Nov. 18: She can’t cut it for me.
[US]Hip-Hop Connection Jan./Feb. 45: One of rap’s original masters can still cut it when he feels the need.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 19 Mar. 21: Rotten’s old refrain of, ‘I’m the star, fuck off,’ would never cut it with Vicious.
[SA]IOL News (Western Cape) 26 Sept. 🌐 Males [...] getting blindingly drunk and dribbling on about tits and footie wasn’t cutting it any more.
[Aus]L. Redhead Rubdown [ebook] Masturbation just wasn’t cutting it any more.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 223: That won’t cut it if I go up on charges.
[Scot]T. Black Artefacts of the Dead [ebook] A holiday? You think that’s going to cut it, Bob?
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] He was parked in the middle of the one police jurisdiction where his fake ID wouldn’t cut it.
[US]S.M. Jones Lives Laid Away [ebook] ‘Sorry don’t cut it, pendejo’.
[US]S.A. Crosby Blacktop Wasteland 2: [N]o one was willing to put up more than $200. That wasn’t gonna cut it.

2. to accept, to tolerate.

[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘Dead Men Don’t Drink’ in I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 39: He ain’t gonna cut this nohow [...] He ain’t gonna cut this at all.

3. to surpass.

[US]G. Tate ‘Knee Deep in Blood Ulmer’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 18: Free Lancing is good – but Are you Glad cuts it (though it’s a close call).

In phrases

cut it grand (v.)

to act in a threatening, domineering manner.

[UK]Egan ‘The Bould Yeoman’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 136: He met a bould yeoman, and bid him for to stand; / ‘If I do, I’m damn’d!’ said he, ‘although you cut it grand.’.
cut it up (v.)

to have an uproarious good time.

[US]J. Thompson Getaway in Four Novels (1983) 4: […] if I was you. I’d be cuttin’ it up in Las Vegas [...] .

SE in slang uses

In phrases

cut it fat (v.) [SE cut (it) fat, to leave too much fat on a slice of meat when carving/cut v.3 + fat adv.]

to show off, to make a vulgar display.

Guards 70: ‘My eyes, Jack! here 's a fresh swell! He cuts it fat, so help me Bob!’.
[UK]Navy at Home II 251: Aye, aye [...] they cut it fat enough — an ensign lives like a prince, they tells me, and marries directly as he goes out.
[UK]Dickens ‘London Recreations’ in Slater Dickens’ Journalism I (1994) 97: Gentlemen in alarming waistcoats, and steel watch-guards, promenading about, three abreast, with surprising dignity (or as the gentleman in the next box facetiously observes, ‘cutting it uncommon fat!’).
[Ire] ‘The Four And Ninepenny Hat’ Dublin Comic Songster 102: For eighteen bob you’ll now get four, / And you may cut it fat, sirs.
[UK] ‘The Man About Town’ in Nobby Songster 23: But like more petty tradesmen, who cut it very fat, / My tin ran short, and you may guess, I soon was out of that.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 18 Feb. 3/3: The Jew Daniels ought to have stuck to his former business, that is barber and performer, rather than attempt to cut it fat as Sydney Merchant.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 4 Dec. 2/6: Patrick Mccarthy, apprenticed to the ‘soft-soaping’ and ‘cutting it fat’ profession.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 1 July 3/2: This is cutting it fat with a vengeance.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 21 June 3/2: Off he set with his miner’s hat / And on the road he cut it quite fat.
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 14 Apr. n.p.: [headline] The Shylocks Triumphant! — Curb Stone Brokers Cutting It Fat!
[UK]Paul Pry (London) 15 Aug. n.p.: Bessy B— we[re] not to cut it quite so fat, as it is well-known her father is a bill-sticker.
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Breitmann in Politics’ in Hans Breitmann About Town 38: He’s O. K. oopon de soobject; / Shoost pet your pile on dat; / On dis bartik’ler quesdion / He intends to coot it fat.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Omaha Dly Bee (NE) 15 June 2/2: I watched this yere racket to-day, but I wasn’t satisfied [...] The parson cut it fat, but the whole thing was tame business.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Oct. 5/2: I raked a cheque together, and thought that it would do, / So I went down to Sydney just to spend a week or two; / I thought I was no ‘flat,’ so resolved to ‘cut it fat,’ / Dressed myself from top to toe, put a pugg’ry round my hat.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 19 Feb. 3/8: Hulol, my noble Rumstrumdoo, / You cut it fat! What’s happened to you?
[UK]H. Baumann ‘Sl. Ditty’ Londinismen (2nd edn) vi: But, there, it don’t matter, / Since to cut it still fatter, / By hook and by crook / We’ve got up this book.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 3 Dec. 6/8: While they lets these bludgin fellers / Slam around, and cut it fat.