cut (one’s) stick(s) v.
1. to leave quickly, to run off [Hotten (1859) suggests the rural practice of cutting a notch or tally in a stick to reckon up sheaves of corn; ‘Cut your stick, then, means to make your mark and pass on’].
|Jack Randall’s Diary 32: My friend is once more putting in his claim to be considered as an accomplished Fibber, and that his declaration of ‘cutting his sticks,’ is all – a Flam.|
|Sussex Advertiser 14 Apr. 4/3: Our friend was completely ‘stow whidded’ and cut his stick.|
|N.-Y. Eve. Post 8 Jan. 2/4–5: ‘Well then,’ says I, ‘Tom,’ says I, ‘had’nt [sic] we better be cutting stick and heading home?’ for we were partly blue.|
|Clockmaker I 58: It was plagy lucky [...] I tell you, that he cut his stick as he did.|
|Seymour’s Humourous Sketches (1866) 1: Let me know by Jim if you can cut your stick as early as nine.|
|‘Flea!’ Dublin Comic Songster 174: A suit of clothes wid fleas inside [...] makes you wish they’d cut their stick.|
|Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 12 Mar. n.p.: Nothing short of cutting his stick like blazes, for the midwife, could any way relieve her.|
|‘Owdham Chap’s Visit to th’ Queen’ in Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 66: So off to Lunnon, cut thy stick, and look at th’ royal babby.|
|Essex Standard 30 Aug. 4/6: You might have [...] bought it and give your note, and cut stick afore the note became due.|
|‘The Raid of the Aborigines’ in Bell’s Life in Sydney 4 Jan. 4/1: Wingate soon cuts his stick at the sight of a spear.|
|Sth Australian 24 May 3/4: [H]e explained the meaning of ‘mizzle,’ [...] signifying in slang language, ‘cut your stick’ — ‘make yourself scarce’ — or ‘run away’.|
|Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Dec. 87/2: Old Time is cutting his stick / [...] / Don’t trust too much to to-morrow.|
|‘Lovely Albert’ in Victorian Street Ballads (1937) 149: He cried to Vic, I’ll cut my stick / To St. Petersburg go right slap.|
|Cadiz Democratic Sentinel (OH) 30 May 1/2: Barney and his niggers cut stick in double quick time.|
|‘What are they thinking of?’ Grant Songster 6: Where are the ones that [...] were the first in time of need / To ‘cut sticks,’ and skedaddle.|
|Bushrangers 272: Hadn’t we better leave the brute and cut stick – hey? [Ibid.] 367: Arter my Bobby was born, I had to cut sticks.|
|Savage London 296: Now cut your sticks home careful, wi’out tumblin’ down the stairs.|
|Cock House Fellsgarth 189: ‘Cut your sticks, and learn your rotten Modern lessons’.|
|Aus. Sl. Dict. 22: Cut One’s Stick, to go away quickly.|
|Sun (NY) 15 May 17/5: The bear [...] cut his sticks on the double quick fer them wood down yonder.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Dec. 36/2: It’s five years since that Smith girl said ‘I was under the whip,’ and twice I’ve ‘cut my stick’ – to the world’s end each time – only to crawl back again. Bet I’m not the only one either! Why can’t a fellow become indifferent?|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Sept. 40/1: ’Twas bitt’rer still to have to own – the Mighty Plan miscarries – / And double-quick to cut your stick away from splendid Paris.|
|(con. 1880s) Triggernometry (1957) 227: He had cut stick for the Bend.|
|‘Fifth Ozark Word List’ in AS XIII:4 Dec. 314/2: cut a stick v.phr. To run rapidly.|
2. to bring to a conclusion, cite 1827 suggests a fighter giving up.
|Pierce Egan’s Life in London 3 June 981/2: Mr. Crick had napped it so thick, that he [...] cut his stick, to prevent his having another lick [...] and he preferred looking towards Somers’ Town to seek for a nurse.|
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Feb. 3/2: I will therefore cut my stick on this subject by merely further observing it is much to be regretted that All Saints' Church should progress so very slowly.|
3. to die.
|Bell’s Life & Sporting Chron. 16 Dec. 3/3: We allude to Bill Gibbons who ‘cut his stick’ [...] after a short [...] fatal illness.|
|Hillingdon Hall I 44: Old Snarle, as you’ll have heard, has cut his stick Poor old bitch!|
|Hereford Jrnl 22 Sept. 2/2: When Pius Aeneas, ‘in a fix,’ / ‘Cut his stick,’ and punted o’er the Styx.|
|Americanisms 594: To cut one’s stick, used in England instead of to leave, has been enlarged in its meaning by American vigor of speech, and here often means to die.|
4. to travel around looking for work [f. cutting a stick to help one as one walks along].
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.|