What Does Cut to the Chase Mean?

Cutting to the Chase Meaning

Definition: To go directly to the main point of a topic.

Someone will use this expression when he doesn’t want to waste time talking about other things before getting to the main point.

Origin of Cut to the Chase

Most sources date this phrase to the silent film era, which lasted from the 1890s to the 1930s. In many silent films, and many modern films as well, the most exciting part of the plot was a chase scene.

Too much talking without any action can be boring for some audiences. Therefore, movies would cut to the chase scene, with cut to meaning to end one scene and begin the next.

Examples of Cut to the Chase

what does cut to the chase mean A young woman uses the expression to quickly change the topic from parties to a very serious matter in the below dialogue.

Cassie: You’ll never believe who invited us to their party!

Rebecca: Who? Actually, never mind. Don’t tell me. I have something important to say to you.

Cassie: Come on! At least, let me tell you about the party first.

Rebecca: No. Let me cut to the chase. I think you have a drinking problem.

Cassie: What? Are you serious?

Rebecca: Yes. I think you need to cut back on your drinking. Actually, we both should. Let’s do it together. I’m worried about our health.

let-s-cut-to-the-chase-meaningIn the next example dialogue, two friends discuss a spur of the moment idea to go to Las Vegas.

Antonio: Okay, I haven’t talked to you about this for over a month, but I have to bring it up again. You have to come to Las Vegas with me.

Igor: We already talked about why I can’t do that. I just don’t have the money right now.

Antonio: I know. So let me cut to the chase. I need this vacation really badly. I have extra money. I don’t want to go by myself. Just let me pay for you.

Igor: I don’t want to accept charity.

Antonio: It’s not charity! Think of it as a birthday present!

More Examples

In the below article, written from the perspective of Santa Claus, the writer uses the idiom to go directly to the main point, without any preamble.

  • There is no easy way to say this, so I’ll just cut to the chase: My sleigh will be bringing fewer Christmas gifts this year. My reindeer, I’m afraid, are simply too small to lug such large loads anymore. –Washington Post

This article excerpt uses the phrase as a way to highlight the main point of its argument.

  • Let’s cut to the chase here: The calls for more “reform,” at this point, are mainly theater.  –New York Post

Summary

The phrase cut to the chase is another way to say that one wants to avoid any unnecessary talk and get straight to the important part of a matter.

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