Cut to the Chase – Meaning & Origin

Photo of author

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.

Have you ever been in a conversation or meeting that seemed to drag on and on? As a parent of two little kids who love to poorly explain their latest fascination, I can relate to this feeling.

What do you say in situations like that? That’s where the phrase “cut to the chase” comes in! But what does it actually mean, and where did it come from? Don’t worry, I’ll explain the origins and usage of this common phrase and how to use it respectfully.

Cut to the Chase Meaning

Cut to the Chase Meaning Origin

When we “cut to the chase,” it just means that we need to get to the point or skip the unnecessary details to get straight to the vital information. In English, we often use it when we feel like our time is being wasted or when we want to move a conversation along more quickly.

All I can think of is when my kids are demanding I listen while they explain something about a YouTube video or one of the video games they play. I don’t have a sweet clue what they’re talking about, and the fact that they use five hundred words to explain the color of something doesn’t help either.

So, sometimes, when I’m feeling a little impatient, I take a deep breath and say, “Hey, how about we cut to the chase of what you’re trying to explain?”

Cut to the Chase Origin

When you learn the origin of this phrase, it makes more sense. It’s rooted in the silent film industry! It was first recorded in use in 1929 with the cinematic drama Hollywood Girl in its script. The notes stated what the character was doing, and then it just said, “cut to the chase,” as in the chase sequence or scene.

Is It Rude to Say Cut to the Chase?

I know it might seem a little blunt or impolite to some people, but saying “cut to the chase” isn’t inherently rude. It can be a useful phrase when you find that time is limited and helps move things along more quickly.

But, sure, it could definitely be used rudely if you say it when you’re just impatient or short on time. Like if you’re in the middle of watching a presentation but have a meeting in ten minutes, you look at the presenter and say, “Let’s cut to the chase.” That would most definitely be rude.

What’s Another Word for Cut to the Chase?

  • Get to the point
  • Cut to the heart of the matter
  • Give me the bottom line
  • Get to the point
  • Today, junior
  • Get down to brass tacks
  • Give me the short version

Examples of Using Cut to the Chase in a Sentence

Cut to the Chase Meaning Origin 1
  • I appreciate the very long backstory, but can you cut to the chase and tell me what the problem is so we can fix it and move on?
  • Alright, let’s cut to the chase and talk about what we can do to fix this issue because our marriage is important to me.
  • Hey, I don’t have all day, so if you could cut to the chase, that would be great.
  • I’m going to cut to the chase here; you’re not getting ice cream before supper.

We’ve Cut to the Chase!

It’s a simple phrase with a basic meaning behind it; get to the point. So, the next time you feel someone is taking way too long to explain something, just tell them to cut to the chase. It’s also a common phrase authors use in writing, so feel free to find clever ways to work it into yours.

Check out some other articles we covered: