Cut Your Losses – Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

I love idioms; I truly do. They make language so much fun. Take the idiom cut your losses, for example. This expression, which I sometimes see confused with count your losses, has a valuable lesson to teach about quitting while you’re ahead. So, let’s slice right into it!

Is It Count Your Losses or Cut Your Losses?

Cut Your Losses vs Count Your Losses Ngram
Cut your losses and count your losses usage trend.

The correct phrase you should be using is cut your losses, not count your losses. I know they sound similar, but cut your losses carries a very specific connotation about minimizing damage and count your losses… well, it doesn’t actually exist in common usage that I can find.

Meaning of Cut Your Losses

Cut Your Losses – Origin Meaning

To cut your losses means to stop an activity so you can prevent further damage or loss. It’s a way of saying, “Okay, this isn’t working. Let’s stop now before things get even worse.” You’d use it when you decide it’s better to abandon a failing situation than to let it drag on and potentially get even worse.

Origin and Etymology of Cut My Losses

This phrase originates from financial and business contexts, particularly the world of investing. If an investment is not performing well, it’s often better to cut your losses and sell everything rather than hoping for a turnaround and risking even greater loss.

Now, we use the phrase in any case where things aren’t going the way you need them to, and it’s better to just stop.

Synonyms for Cut One’s Losses

  • Minimize damage
  • Stop the bleed
  • Prevent further harm
  • Halt a losing venture
  • Withdraw early
  • Exit before more loss

Cut My Losses Examples in a Sentence

Cut Your Losses – Origin Meaning 1
  • Seeing the business wasn’t profitable, I decided to cut my losses and sell everything off.
  • After several unsuccessful attempts, he decided to cut his losses with the bakery and try something new, like a juice bar.
  • “If we continue with this plan, we’ll go bankrupt. It’s time to cut our losses,” the CEO stated.
  • When she realized she wasn’t going to win the argument, she cut her losses and changed the subject.
  • It was a tough decision, but I cut my losses and dropped the underperforming product from our line-up.
  • “I think it’s time to cut our losses and abandon this project,” suggested our team leader.
  • Faced with mounting debt, they decided to cut their losses and close the local store.
  • Realizing he was losing money in garage costs, he cut his losses and sold the car.
  • “We’ve spent enough time on this. Let’s cut our losses and move on,” she said.
  • Despite his love for the old house, he decided to cut his losses and sell it before further repairs were needed.

Know When to Cut Your Losses

That should be everything you need to know about the saying cut your losses. It’s all about preventing further damage and making the tough call to stop before things get worse. Keep this idiom in your back pocket for those sticky situations, and you’ll always be ready to make the savvy decision.