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Denotation vs. Connotation

cut adrift

Separated or detached; freed. For example, The dissenters were cut adrift from the denomination. This expression alludes to cutting the rope of a floating vessel so that it drifts without direction or purpose. The figurative use of adrift dates from the late 1600s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for cut adrift
Historical Examples
  • It has, in its arrogance, cut adrift and swung off from the two grand foci of all truth, the human and the divine.

  • If I cut adrift in a squall, I stand a pretty fair chance not to see you again.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • The steering gear was cut adrift, and as he looked at the shaft in his hand the launch went off her course.

    With Wolseley to Kumasi F.S. Brereton
  • It was just such a night as the one on which the pretty houseboat had been cut adrift.

    Madge Morton's Secret Amy D. V. Chalmers
  • The moment they and their effects were secured the launch was cut adrift, like useless lumber.

    The Red Rover James Fenimore Cooper
  • How the mischief could you possibly be cut adrift from where you were anchored; and by whom?

    A Middy of the Slave Squadron Harry Collingwood
  • God knows I don't want to cut adrift from you, and I can't cut adrift from you.

    Dodo's Daughter E. F. Benson
  • “The mainmast has not been cut adrift; it will be a dangerous task,” said the coxswain.

  • The fact was he did not care to cut adrift from Gerard just then.

    The Luck of Gerard Ridgeley Bertram Mitford
  • "Keelhaul me if I cut adrift at this stage of the game," answered Ferral.

    Motor Matt's Hard Luck Stanley R. Matthews

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