Thursday 26 January 2012

The Cut

File:Who's your fat friend.pngHere is some Cambridge University slang from the eighteenth century:

TO CUT, (CAMBRIDGE). To renounce acquaintance with any one is to CUT him. There are several species of the CUT. Such as the cut direct, the cut indirect, the cut sublime, the cut infernal, etc. The cut direct, is to start across the street, at the approach of the obnoxious person in order to avoid him. The cut indirect, is to look another way, and pass without appearing to observe him. The cut sublime, is to admire the top of King's College Chapel, or the beauty of the passing clouds, till he is out of sight. The cut infernal, is to analyse the arrangement of your shoe-strings, for the same purpose.

I have done all four of these, but never knew that there was a name for them.

Sorry, I didn't see you there.


  1. I wonder if that explains the phrase "didn't make the cut"?
    Or sombody was "cut" from the team?

  2. Here's the original. Interesting that it follows Johnson in the "analyze" spelling which today would be considered American.

    It doesn't seem to be in the 1785 edition.

  3. The famously rude playwright Edward Knoblock was accosted on Waterloo Station by a woman friend who demanded: "Do you know you cut me three times at Woking?"
    "Really?" he said. "I only saw you twice."