Cut to the Chase | Meaning & Origin

Idioms updated on  March 8, 2024 2 min read

The idiom cut to the chase means “speak about something without wasting time or including unimportant details.”

“Cut to the chase” originated in the 1920s, when silent film editors would splice in a chase scene after a slower scene in order to keep the audience’s attention. Hence, the expression is used to refer to the act of skipping to the most important or exciting part of a conversation.

Examples: Cut to the chase in a sentence
Let’s cut to the chase and figure out the plan.
Cut to the chase already; you’re wasting my time.
Lisa skipped the small talk and cut right to the chase.

How to use cut to the chase

“Cut to the chase” can be used as a command to get someone to discuss the main point of a topic. In other words, “cut to the chase” means “get to the point.” It can also be used to indicate that someone skipped unimportant information in a past conversation (e.g., “He finally cut to the chase and told me what the problem was”).

“Cut to the chase” is typically avoided in professional contexts, as it can be considered rude or abrupt (e.g., “Cut to the chase already; I’m bored”).

Examples: Cut to the chase in a sentence
Just cut to the chase, would you? I don’t have all day.
He needed to cut to the chase, but he loves to talk.
Marlene, cut to the chase before my clothes go out of style.

Cut to the chase origin

During the silent film era, a popular trope was to have a chase scene as the climax of the movie. When a film had too much exposition or intertitle cards for dialogue, studio executives would give directors the advice to “cut to the chase” so that audiences wouldn’t be bored.

Geoffrey Chaucer coined an early version of the phrase in The Wife of Bath’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales. He wrote, “And shortly forth this tale for to chace,” meaning “to cut a long story short.”

Do you want to know more about common mistakes, commonly confused words, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


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Circular reasoning fallacy


Where did cut to the chase come from?

The idiom cut to the chase originates from the silent film era of the 1920s. Directors and writers would literally cut to a chase scene after a slower sequence to keep the audience’s attention.

What is a synonym for cut to the chase?

Some synonyms or near synonyms for the idiom “cut to the chase” include:

  • Be frank
  • Don’t beat around the bush
  • Get down to brass tacks
  • Get down to business
  • Get on with it
  • Get to the point
  • Say what you have to say
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Paige Pfeifer

Paige teaches QuillBot writers about grammar rules and writing conventions. She has a BA in English, which she received by reading and writing a lot of fiction. That is all she knows how to do.

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