Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cut up v.1

[fig. uses of SE]

1. to slander, to criticize, esp. behind the victim’s back; thus cutting up n.

[UK]O. Goldsmith Bee (Globe) No. 5 390: The pack of critics, who probably have no other occupation but that of cutting up everything new [F&H].
[UK]Mme D’Arblay Diary and Letters (1904) I 189: They may have the pleasure of caballing and cutting up one another, even in the same room.
Shelley Essays and Letters (1886) 309: I read the article [...] I am glad, however, to see the Quarterly cut up, and that by one of their own people.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London II 90: ‘What brought you here [prison]?’ ‘Driven in by the Philistines, [...] caught like a harmless dove by the Greeks — clean’d out. — By the cog, I was obliged to fly to this pigeon house, in order to avoid being cut up by my creditors; and, up to a little of the Newmarket logic, I am now crossing and justling, thought it is doubtful at present who will win the race’.
[UK]Egan Life of an Actor 255: Superiority of talent goes for nothing: he is threatened, laughed at, blamed, cut up by ‘the press’.
[UK]Western Times 31 Oct. 4/3: No — we could not caricature the Editor of the Gazette [...] Shall we cut him off from our columns, or cut him up in them?
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms 105: to cut up. To criticise with severity; as, he was severely cut up in the newspapers.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Trail of the Serpent 249: I shall cut him up on principle.
[UK]Besant & Rice Golden Butterfly II 79: There shall be no cutting up of bad books to show smart writing.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Remailed’ in Roderick (1972) 197: It is supposed to be something [...] to be flattered by critics and reprinted throughout the country press, or even cut up well and severely.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 149: You think it’s a mark of intelligence to cut up and skylark in the house of the Lord, I suppose.
[US]F. Elli Riot (1967) 171: ‘You been cuttin’ this up with other guys?’ ‘Cutting what up?’ ‘Skinny’s personal business.’.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 65: cut up [...] 3. to criticize — often behind someone’s back.

2. to box; thus cutting upn., boxing.

[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 221: He was frequently compelled to turn-up his street acquaintances who could not stand cutting-up.

3. to impress.

[UK] ‘Gentleman in Black’ Bentley’s Misc. IV 616: She won’t be the first fair damsel I’ve cut up, by a great many.

4. to become, to appear, to show up.

[US]J.C. Neal Peter Ploddy and Other Oddities 72: Tom was opposed to the practice of clustering about a corner and selling newspapers in a flock [...] ‘to be cutting up, so fashion, all in a jam, why people go on t’other side of the way, and retailing’s done for’.
[UK]M. Lemon Golden Fetters II 95: Mr. Barnard, who, to use a vulgarism, had not ‘cut up’ so well as had been expected.
[US] letter 4 Oct. T. Hughes Gone To Texas (1884) 11: I guess we look like cutting up smart, anyways we’ll try.

5. to show off, to play the clown, to make people laugh; to act eccentrically; thus cutting up n.

[US]J.M. Field Drama in Pokerville 198: One of them fellers that tumbles! – seen ’em, once, more’n half naked, cuttin’ up, down to Madison!
[US] ‘How Sally Hooter Got Snake-Bit’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 72: He began er rubbin his hands an slappin’ um together, an’ scramblin’ about on his knees, an’ er cuttin’ up like mad!
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 132: She cood run in the tall grass, wrastle with the boys, cut up strong at parin bees, make up faces behind the minister’s back.
[UK]Swindon Advertiser 11 Nov. 4/1: Your Carnarvons might ride rusty, or your Cranbornes cut up crusty.
[US]J. Aby Hoffenstein 13: He [a horse] never cuts up unless the flies are bad.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 51: He wanted to know what troupe the soubrette was cutting-up with.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 11 Aug. 23/1: When a player (actor) is dissipated, or a spendthrift, or disposed to cut up jinks generally, he makes more noise about it than the other chap.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 134: She could tip us off [...] if anybody heard of them cutting up high jinks.
[US](con. 1900s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 119: This boy went and made a regular business of cutting up and asking foolish questions.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 291: All the way to Montana Terry had been singing and cutting up.
[US]N. Algren Never Come Morning (1988) 174: I only hope you c’n fight like you can cut up.
[US]M. Shulman Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (1959) 102: I’ll have no nonsense from you [...] no cutting up, no goofing.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 139: Everyone figures we’re jes cuttin up some.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 160: He liked to cut up a lot.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 65: cut up 1. to act crazy. 2. to make (someone) laugh.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 12: If one of us dared to cut up in public, Mama would yank him firmly by one arm.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 183: The kids [...] were laughing and cutting up.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014.

6. to behave, to act; usu. with a defining adj.

[UK]Sporting Mag. Nov. 11: The Knight’s party [...] sported their tin freely at 5 and 6 to 4 on their fancy who cut up wretchedly and was beaten.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown’s School-Days (1896) 79: A great deal depends on how a fellow cuts up at first. If he’s got nothing odd about him, and answers straightforward, and holds his head up, he gets on.
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Hans Breitmman’s Christmas’ Hans Breitmann’s Party 32: Ve hat foon wie der Teufel in Frankreich — we coot oop like ter tyfel in France.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Jan. 4/3: Is it a dream that the Herald proprietary are Free-traders? Or do they ‘cut up’ badly on principle some times as well as grammar?
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Nov. 6/2: Now, Elijah was a Town and Country Missionary also, in his time, but that’s not the style he used to cut up in the time of drought. He wasn’t the man to skip the drought-cursed country and stop at bang-up Coffee Palaces in a city where the water was laid on, until such time as the clouds opened out over the parched plains, and the rain poured down, and every river ran a ‘banker’.
[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 205: When they do come to town they cut up worse than the people who live here.
[US]B.L. Bowen ‘Word-List From Western New York’ in DN III:vi 445: like sixty, adv. Like everything; very badly. ‘That child cuts up like sixty’.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 230: The way Neil was cutting up may have had a bad effect on the old man.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 226: This was our cue to cut up a bit of craziness. And then, all adopting phoney Italian accents, we started jazzing him.

7. (US, also cut up dickens) to complain, to make a lot of noise, lit. and fig.; thus cuttings-up n., criticism.

[US] ‘How Sally Hooter Got Snake-Bit’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 69: I never seed but one woman what wouldn’t cut up when er snake was ’bout.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 213: Be still, my sole, be still, & you, Hart, stop cuttin up!
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers 2nd series (1880) 24: Well, Miss S. does hev cuttins-up.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 9 Nov. 2/4: ‘Now, now, Maria,’ said the young man [...] ‘don’t go cuttin’ up in this way, now don’t!’ ‘I’ll cut up’s much’s I want to!’ she sharply replied.
[US]A.C. Gunter Miss Nobody of Nowhere 254: The child’s worn out with her dad’s cuttings up.
[US](con. 1860s) W. Goss Recollections of a Private 180: They’ll be cutting up like mad down in Boston.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 126: Next time I chew the rag with you about cuttin’ up in the streets an’ boozin’, you want to listen.
[UK]Wodehouse Leave it to Psmith (1993) 517: While everybody’s cutting up and what-the-helling.
[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 266–7: Pipe down if you know what’s good for you. The bloke next door can tell you what happens to people who cut up.
[US]C. McCullers Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1986) 304: Baby began to yell and cut up during one of the dances.
[Aus]D. Stivens Scholarly Mouse and other Tales 78: My mother cut up when she heard. ‘Wasting money when it could have gone into the house.’.
[US]S. King It (1987) 248: This new version of George never cut up dickens.
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 45: Fuck im. If im an is gyal, is agent cut up bout it tuff.

8. to dance, to have a good time; thus cutting up n.

[UK]Beds. Times 31 July 2/5: [from Spirit of the Times (NY) ] They war dancin’ and cuttin’ up like the devil.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 365: I vote we have doin’s, an’ cut up quite some.
[US]H.L. Wilson Ruggles of Red Gap (1917) 284: Everybody laughing and gassing back and forth and cutting up and having a good time all around.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Romance in the Roaring Forties’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 39: Why do you not [...] take a dram or two and go to cutting up some.
[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 20 Jan. [synd. col.] The collegiates who cut up and get giddy in night clubs.
[US]T. Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Act II: Cut up crazy! Rented hotel ballrooms for victory celebrations.

9. (US) to talk about.

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 24: We used to sit around and ‘cut up touches’ [...] Swap yarns on jobs we’d pulled.
[US]W.L. Gresham Nightmare Alley (1947) 281: We were cutting up old times.
[US]J. Blake letter 31 Mar. Joint (1972) 116: He keeps coming up to the cell to cut up old junkie scores with Doug.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 90: Me and the Horse were cutting you up last night. He said you were short.

10. (US) to cause trouble for.

[US]D. Hammett ‘$106,000 Blood Money’ Story Omnibus (1966) 341: Suppose he gets in the way — cuts up on us.
[UK]D. Widgery Some Lives! 5: They can cut up a bit when they’ve had a few.

11. to misbehave.

[US]J. Stearn Sisters of the Night 57: I wouldn’t take nothing from nobody. Those Johns knew better than to cut up around my place.
[US]C. Eble UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2016 3: CUT UP — ill treat someone: X: ‘This guy from Tinder took a week to message me back’ Y: ‘He is cutting up’.

12. (US black) to fight.

[UK]Guardian G2 17 Nov. 13: Bunker refuses to accept that he is a different man from the one who tried to ‘cut up a queen’.

13. (US black) of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

Goodie Mob ‘Soul Food’ [lyrics] Wish I could cut her up, but ma stomach come before sex.
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz ‘Play No Games’ [lyrics] I just wanna cut you up, slice you up like cold cuts.
Baby Bash ‘Butta Kup’ [lyrics] Cut her up clean, cause she sweeter than my Swisha.

In phrases

cut up a dido (v.)

see separate entry.

cut up (a) rusty (v.) [rusty adj.1 (1)]

to become annoyed.

[US] in Michigan Hist. Mag. IX 397: Our Indians have been cutting up all sort of rustys [...] most important [...] is the killing of Col. March and his company [DA].
Marion Co. Herald (Hamilton, AL) 7 Mar. 2/2: Reckon he’ll cut up rusty, or — .
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer I 139: Come, come, Johnny! don’t cut up rusty.
[UK]Marvel III:53 6: He cut up rusty, and said some nasty things.
[UK]Gem 21 Oct. 8: Give them a rouser, before some prefect comes out and cuts up rusty.
[UK]H. Ashton Doctor Serocold (1936) 132: Archibald will cut up rusty about the inoculations.
[US]T.J. Farr ‘The Language of the Tennessee Mountain Regions’ in AS XIV:2 90: cut a rusty. To have an outburst of anger.
[Aus](con. 1940s) T.A.G. Hungerford Sowers of the Wind 107: Some Indians, cutting up rusty in the village.
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 45: Why Bob Cherry had cut up rusty, Bunter did not know.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 2: To decode phrases like flat to the boards like a lizard drinking, looks as though they might cut up rusty (or rough) or it’s cracking hardy today..., the listener needs to be a member of the group that habitually utters such oddities.
cut (up) a shine (v.)

1. to play (practical) jokes.

[US]D. Crockett Exploits and Adventures (1934) 140: Come cutt’n your shines ’bout me agin, next time I come to the Court House, will you!
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) 156: Come here, you young sucking parson you. If you don’t give over cutting those shines, I’ll make your breech acquainted with a bit of the halyards before you are many days older.
[US]D. Corcoran Picking from N.O. Picayune 281: He was cutting up all kinds of shines. [Ibid.] 61: They were cutting up all sorts of shines [...] disturbing the peace of the whole city.
[US]H.B. Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin 55: Mind you don’t cut up none o’ yer shines about it.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[US]New Bloomfield Times (PA) 23 Sept. 8/2: The rowdy [...] may still cut up some shines.
[US]Dly Ardmoreite (OK) 8 Jan. 4/1: No, my boy [...] I used to cut up shines once, but I’m too old now.
[US]W.N. Harben Westerfelt 270: Don’t cut up any o’ yore shines with these Christian women who are tryin’ to do good.
[US] ‘Central Connecticut Word-List’ in DN III:i 7: cut up shines, v. phr. To play tricks. Also, ‘to cut up monkey-shines’.

2. to ‘cut a caper’.

[US]J. Hall Soldier’s Bride 224: I’m a ’bombinable bad hand among women — so I’d like to thank ’em not to be cutting their shines about me.
[UK]J. Labern ‘The Larned Dustman’ Comic Songs 28: Its there I cut no little shine, / Mong birds of Noble Feather.
[US] ‘How Sally Hooter Got Snake-Bit’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 72: He was [...] er slobberin’ at the mouth, an’ er cuttin up shines worse nor er bob-tail bull in fly time!
[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 324: He cuts capers, he cuts up shines, he even cuts didoes.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 197: It would a made a cow laugh, to see the shines that old idiot cut.
Fisherman & Farfmer (Edenton, NC) 14 Sept. 1/2: His hoss a stepping mighty high, [...] You’ll say as he goes splitting by, / ‘That dude is cutting up some shines’.
[US]Rockingham Post-Dispatch (NC) 31 June 8/2: If the fish of Hitchcock creek cut up any shines this week, it can be traced to the intoxicating fluid that the law consigned to the gutter.

3. (US) to make a fuss, to cause a commotion.

[US]D. Corcoran Picking from the Picayune 28: ‘What was this man doing when you arrested him?’ [...] ‘O, he vas cutting up all sorts of extra shines.’.
[US]Waynesburg Republican (PA) 15 July 4/4: Well, you’d dam swoon foun the fac out if you’ cut up any shines round here, huggin wimmin, ore cussin [...] or talkin sassy to the conductor, or sich.
Staunton Spectator (Richmond, VA) 7 Aug. 2/6: The kickers cut up as terrible shine and kicked up a heap of dust in the ring.
[US]Monroe City Democrat (MO) 6 Aug. 3/2: Many people not only cuts up dey shines in dis life, but hopes to raise sand at de resurrection.

4. to brag, to boast.

[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict. n.p.: Cut the shine to boast, brag.
cut up dickens (v.)

see sense 7 above.

cut up jack (v.)

see separate entry.

cut up rough (v.)

see separate entry.

cut up savage (v.)

to become annoyed .

[UK]Thackeray Pendennis II 114: ‘I didn’t mean any offence – beg pardon – hang it, you cut up quite savage,’ said Pen’s astonished interlocutor.
cut up ugly (v.)

to become annoyed .

[US]A. Adams Log of a Cowboy 356: Some of those good people did n’t have any better manners than to hiss and cut up ugly.