What Does Cut Me Some Slack Mean?

Cut Me Some Slack Meaning

Definition: Give one some leniency.

Origin of Cut Some Slack

This idiom is informal and originated around the mid-1900s. It alludes to the slackening of tautness in a rope or sail.

The etymology of slack is interesting. In the 1300s, slack meant cessation of pain or grief. However, that is not where the idiom comes from. Rather, it comes from its other definition, the loose part of a sail or rope, which comes from the late-1700s.

cut him some slackTherefore to cut someone some slack means to loosen a tight restriction. In this idiom, cut has the meaning of give. This could amount to giving someone a less harsh punishment for a crime, or even allowing someone some leeway in following the rules.

Examples of Cut Some Slack

In this conversation, a mother and daughter are arguing about the daughter’s schedule.

Daughter: Guess what! I tried out for cheerleading, and I made the team!

Mother: Really? Of course, I’m proud of you, but I’m not sure that you have the time to be on the cheer squad.

Daughter: Why not? I have great grades, and I don’t have any extracurricular activities.

Mother: How will you have time to keep your grades up and continue to improve at playing the violin if you are always at cheer practice?

Daughter: Cut me some slack, Mom! I always do everything you want. Let me do one thing that I want to do.

cut her some slackIn this example, two coworkers are discussing the strict rules at their workplace.

Dave: I can’t believe we can’t even take unscheduled bathroom breaks anymore!

Ben: I know. These rules are way too harsh. We’re good workers. They should trust us by giving us some more flexibility.

Dave: I agree. I think that if they cut us some slack that productivity would actually improve.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an advice column.

  • An important reminder here: It is much harder to be left than it is to leave. Your job right now is to keep putting yourself back together, and that means cutting yourself (and your boyfriend) some slack. –Denver Post

This excerpt is a caption from an article about a ghost dog.

  • This is NOT the Volkwood Ghost Dog of Garden Grove legend and lore. It is, in fact, Zero, the ghost dog of Jack Skellington from “Nightmare Before Christmas,” and part of Disneyland’s Halloween-themed fireworks display in 2009. But use your imagination, and cut us some slack — you know how hard it is to get a good photo of a ghost dog? –OC Register

Summary

The phrase cut me some slack is another way to give me more flexibility or allow me more leeway.

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