cut and run

Idioms & Phrases

cut and run

Clear out, escape, desert, as in He wished he could just cut and run. This term originally (about 1700) meant to cut a vessel's anchor cable and make sail at once. By the mid-1800s it was being used figuratively. Charles Dickens had it in Great Expectations (1861): "I'd give a shilling if they had cut and run." Also see cut out, def. 7.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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