to cut the knot


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Cut \Cut\ (k[u^]t), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Cut; p. pr. & vb. n.
   Cutting.] [OE. cutten, kitten, ketten; prob. of Celtic
   origin; cf. W. cwtau to shorten, curtail, dock, cwta
   bobtailed, cwt tail, skirt, Gael. cutaich to shorten,
   curtail, dock, cutach short, docked, cut a bobtail, piece,
   Ir. cut a short tail, cutach bobtailed. Cf. Coot.]
   1. To separate the parts of with, or as with, a sharp
      instrument; to make an incision in; to gash; to sever; to
      divide.
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            You must cut this flesh from off his breast. --Shak.
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            Before the whistling winds the vessels fly,
            With rapid swiftness cut the liquid way. --Pope.
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   2. To sever and cause to fall for the purpose of gathering;
      to hew; to mow or reap.
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            Thy servants can skill to cut timer.  --2. Chron.
                                                  ii. 8
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   3. To sever and remove by cutting; to cut off; to dock; as,
      to cut the hair; to cut the nails.
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   4. To castrate or geld; as, to cut a horse.
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   5. To form or shape by cutting; to make by incision, hewing,
      etc.; to carve; to hew out.
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            Why should a man. whose blood is warm within,
            Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? --Shak.
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            Loopholes cut through thickest shade. --Milton.
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   6. To wound or hurt deeply the sensibilities of; to pierce;
      to lacerate; as, sarcasm cuts to the quick.
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            The man was cut to the heart.         --Addison.
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   7. To intersect; to cross; as, one line cuts another at right
      angles.
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   8. To refuse to recognize; to ignore; as, to cut a person in
      the street; to cut one's acquaintance. [Colloq.]
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   9. To absent one's self from; as, to cut an appointment, a
      recitation. etc. [Colloq.]
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            An English tradesman is always solicitous to cut the
            shop whenever he can do so with impunity. --Thomas
                                                  Hamilton.
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   10. (Cricket) To deflect (a bowled ball) to the off, with a
       chopping movement of the bat.
       [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

   11. (Billiards, etc.) To drive (an object ball) to either
       side by hitting it fine on the other side with the cue
       ball or another object ball.
       [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

   12. (Lawn Tennis, etc.) To strike (a ball) with the racket
       inclined or struck across the ball so as to put a certain
       spin on the ball.
       [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

   13. (Croquet) To drive (a ball) to one side by hitting with
       another ball.
       [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

   To cut a caper. See under Caper.

   To cut the cards, to divide a pack of cards into portions,
      in order to determine the deal or the trump, or to change
      the cards to be dealt.

   To cut both ways, to have effects both advantageous and
      disadvantageous.

   To cut corners, to deliberately do an incomplete or
      imperfect job in order to save time or money.

   To cut a dash or To cut a figure, to make a display of
      oneself; to give a conspicuous impression. [Colloq.]

   To cut down.
       (a) To sever and cause to fall; to fell; to prostrate.
           "Timber . . . cut down in the mountains of Cilicia."
           --Knolles.
       (b) To put down; to abash; to humble. [Obs] "So great is
           his natural eloquence, that he cuts down the finest
           orator." --Addison
       (c) To lessen; to retrench; to curtail; as, to cut down
           expenses.
       (d) (Naut.) To raze; as, to cut down a frigate into a
           sloop.

   To cut the knot or To cut the Gordian knot, to dispose of
      a difficulty summarily; to solve it by prompt, arbitrary
      action, rather than by skill or patience.

   To cut lots, to determine lots by cuttings cards; to draw
      lots.

   To cut off.
       (a) To sever; to separate.
           [1913 Webster +PJC]

                 I would to God, . . .
                 The king had cut off my brother's. --Shak.
       (b) To put an untimely death; to put an end to; to
           destroy. "Iren[ae]us was likewise cut off by
           martyrdom." --Addison.
       (c) To interrupt; as, to cut off communication; to cut
           off (the flow of) steam from (the boiler to) a steam
           engine.
       (d) To intercept; as,, to cut off an enemy's retreat.
       (e) To end; to finish; as, to cut off further debate.

   To cut out.
       (a) To remove by cutting or carving; as, to cut out a
           piece from a board.
       (b) To shape or form by cutting; as, to cut out a
           garment. " A large forest cut out into walks."
           --Addison.
       (c) To scheme; to contrive; to prepare; as, to cut out
           work for another day. "Every man had cut out a place
           for himself." --Addison.
       (d) To step in and take the place of; to supplant; as, to
           cut out a rival. [Colloq.]
       (e) To debar. "I am cut out from anything but common
           acknowledgments." --Pope.
       (f) To seize and carry off (a vessel) from a harbor, or
           from under the guns of an enemy.
       (g) to separate from the midst of a number; as, to cut
           out a steer from a herd; to cut out a car from a
           train.
       (h) to discontinue; as, to cut out smoking.

   To cut to pieces.
       (a) To cut into pieces; as, to cut cloth to pieces.
       (b) To slaughter; as, to cut an army to pieces.

   To cut a play (Drama), to shorten it by leaving out
      passages, to adapt it for the stage.

   To cut rates (Railroads, etc.), to reduce the charges for
      transportation below the rates established between
      competing lines.

   To cut short, to arrest or check abruptly; to bring to a
      sudden termination. "Achilles cut him short, and thus
      replied." --Dryden.

   To cut stick, to make off clandestinely or precipitately.
      [Slang]

   To cut teeth, to put forth teeth; to have the teeth pierce
      through the gum and appear.

   To have cut one's eyeteeth, to be sharp and knowing.
      [Colloq.]

   To cut one's wisdom teeth, to come to years of discretion.
      

   To cut under, to undersell; as, to cut under a competitor
      in trade; more commonly referred to as undercut.

   To cut up.
       (a) To cut to pieces; as, to cut up an animal, or bushes.
       (b) To damage or destroy; to injure; to wound; as, to cut
           up a book or its author by severe criticism. "This
           doctrine cuts up all government by the roots."
           --Locke.
       (c) To afflict; to discourage; to demoralize; as, the
           death of his friend cut him up terribly. [Colloq.]
           --Thackeray.
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