To cut

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    One can
    a - cut meat, a loaf of bread,
    a' - cut hair, paper
    b - mow grass, the lawn,
    c - shear a sheep
    d - prune a tree
    e - trim the hedge
    f - shave a beard

    But in Dutch we shall say:
    a'/ f - haar knippen, papier knippen (because we use a small pair of scissors)
    c'/e'/f' - de haag (the hedge) scheren, schapen (sheep) scheren, zijn baard scheren
    d - snoeien (also the budget, or no, the expenses)

    Are there languages with more or less diversity as for cutting ?
  2. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech the verb strictly depends on the tool, not on the object.

    stříhati - by scissors (or by "mašinka", an electrical tool for cutting hair, shearing sheep);
    řezati - by saw, knife, (also by flame/water/laser);
    krájeti - by knife only;
    sekati (cf. Latin secare) - by ax, sword, sickle;
    kositi - by scythe (= kosa);
    holiti (from holý = bare) - by blade, (el.) razor;

    a - krájeti;
    a', c, e - stříhati;
    b - sekati;
    d - řezati;
    f - holiti;

    Every verb can take various prefixes: ostříhati, prostříhati, prořezati, nakrájeti, pokrájeti, rozkrájeti, ukrojiti, etc.

    The verbs can be used figuratively. For example: Skosily je nemoci a hlad. = They were scythed (mowed down) by diseases and hunger (imagine the Skeleton with the scythe).
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  3. phosphore Senior Member


    seći - refers to any act of cutting pieces off something: meat, bread, hair, paper - your a
    rezati - refers to cutting a particular shape: meat, breat, paper, tree, hedge, taxes, expenses - your a, d, e
    šišati - refers to cutting to a particular shape: hair, grass, sheep, hedge - your a, b, c, e
    kositi - refers to cutting grass with a scythe - your b
    strigati - to shear a sheep - your c
    kresati - to prune a tree - your d
    brijati - to shave - your f
    krojiti - to tailor: garment, future
    cepati - to rip: paper, wood
    tesati - to adze: wood, stone
  4. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    a - cut meat, a loaf of bread - резать /rezat/ (lit. to cut; this is the most verstaile word); отрезать /otrezat/ (lit. to cut off)
    a' - cut hair - стричь /stritch/, paper - разрезать /razrezat/ (same root as "cut"; literally means "cut apart")
    b - mow grass, the lawn - косить /kosit/ (to scythe)
    c - shear a sheep - стричь /stritch/ (same as cutting hair)
    d - prune a tree - (I'm not sure 100% but I think it is): обрезать /obrezat/ (lit. cut around) or прорежать /prorejat/ (lit. to thin through). The tool is called секатор /sekator/
    e - trim the hedge - same as "prune"
    f - shave a beard - брить /brit'/

    to cut fabric to make clothes - кроить /kroyit/
    to shape wood or stone: тесать /tesat/
    to rip: рвать /rvat/
    to cut with a sword or another like instrument - сечь/рассекать /setch/rassekat/ - these two have the same root
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Czech (and generally Slavic) has different verbs for different tools, was pointed out by Bibax at the lawnmower thread. I pasted his contribution here along by additions in red for Italian by Pizzi. I hereby invite both to add the verbs !

    Italian/ Czech

    scissors, cesoie- stříhati;
    saw, sega, saracco
    knife, lancia (also to cut by flame/water/laser) - řezati;
    knife (only) lama, coltello, trinciante - krájeti;
    ax, ascia
    sword, lama
    scythe, falce
    sickle, falcetto- sekati (cf. Latin secare, sectio);
    scythe (only) falce - kositi (kosa = scythe)

    By the way: any meta-linguistic comments/ suggestions on how one could structure such lists (and contain them: include rip or not ???) are welcome.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  6. pizzi

    pizzi Senior Member

    Italian, Italy
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Great, thanks a lot, pizzi! Interesting to see the links existing in Italy as opposed to the ones in Dutch...

    But I would say: let's drop the carving/ sculpting verbs, i.e. :

    as they are different movements (take more force, etc.).
  8. ilocas2 Senior Member

    I don't want to argue with anybody, but I must say, that the endings of Czech verbs are actually -t and the ending -ti is no longer used anywhere, it was used in books till, let's say 1950s-1960s.

    And I really don't understand why somebody uses this endings in this forum, but as I said, I don't want to argue.

  9. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:
    1a - cut meat, a loaf of bread: Verb «κόβω» ('kovo) from the Classical «κόπτω» ('kŏptō)-->initially to smite, slaughter later to cut off, chop off; from PIE Base *(s)kep-, to cut, to scrape, to hack.
    1b - cut hair, paper: Idem; although «κουρεύω» (ku'revo)-->to cut the hair can also be used (for the hair); a Byzantine verb deriving from the feminine noun «κουρά» (ku'ra)-->the cropping of the hair later the tonsure (in order to become a member of a monastic order). Ultimately from the Classical verb «κείρω» ('keirō)-->to cut down, hew, carve, tear from PIE Base *(s)qer-, to cut off, shear. Today with «κουρεύω» we describe the cutting of hair (e.g. in a barber's shop which in Greek is «κουρείο», "ku'rio" neuter noun). In the Cretan regiolect, sheep are «κουράδια» (ku'raðja neuter nominative plural)-->lit. the shorn animals.
    2 - mow grass, the lawn: Both «κόβω» and «κουρεύω» can be used.
    3 - shear a sheep: «Kουρεύω».
    4 - prune a tree: «Κλαδεύω» (kla'ðevo), a Hellenistic verb «κλαδεύω» (klă'deuō)-->initially to prune vines later to prune (in general) from PIE Base *kel(a)-, strike.
    5 - trim the hedge: «Κλαδεύω», «κουρεύω» or «ξακρίζω» (ksa'krizo). The latter is a compound formed by the joining together of the prefix and preposition «ἐξ» (eks)-->out of, from within + Classical feminine noun «ἄκρη» ('akrē)-->farthest point, extremity + suffix «-ίζω» (-'izō) which both in Ancient and Modern Greek actively forms verbs especially from feminine nouns; e.g. «ἐλπίς» (el'pis=hope), «ἐλπίζω» (el'pizō=to hope). «Ξακρίζω» (ksa'krizo) lit. means to trim out.
    6 - shave a beard: «Ξυρίζω» (ksi'rizo) from the Classical «ξυρέω/ξυρῶ» ('ksur'eō [uncontracted]/ksu'rō [contracted])-->to shave, from the neuter noun «ξυρόν» (ksur'ŏn), the razor.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  10. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    The Finnish verbs:

    leikata lihaa, leipää (cut meat, bread)
    leikata hiukset, paperia (cut the hair, paper)
    leikata ruohoa, nurmikko (mow grass, the lawn)
    keriä lammas (shear a sheep)
    karsia, oksia puu (prune a tree)
    leikata, trimmata pensasaita (trim the hedge)
    ajaa parta (shave a beard)

    oksia < oksa ("branch")
    ajaa = drive (a car!); ride (a bicycle!); shave (one's moustache/beard!), ... (plus some other meanings) :)

    EDIT: Whoa! My 1000th post!
  11. pizzi

    pizzi Senior Member

    Italian, Italy
    There is a masonry term too, cut and stitch

    Italian: cuci-scuci or scuci-cuci


  12. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    To the expressions that Sakvaka said in post #10 I'd like to add a couple of different uses of the verb leikata (to cut):

    - to operate (a medical operation)
    - to harvest (the crop)
    - to intersect (for example two lines intersecting)
    - castrate (especially for cats and dogs)
    ...and so on.
  13. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks, but the basic act is cutting, I believe. I am impressed though that you can use the verb in so many contexts. I don't think we can in Dutch...
  14. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    In my English-Finnish dictionary I counted at least fifteen different contexts for "to cut" without looking at the idioms or sayings. They also include most of the contexts used in Finnish (to harvest, to intersect, to castrate etc.) and many, many more.
  15. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    We don't want to think of the cutting while castrating, I think, ;-) and cutting the harvest would have mowing in it (maaien as in maaidorser, combine, combining mowing and threshing).
  16. pizzi

    pizzi Senior Member

    Italian, Italy
    Italian, there are also:

    to cut sublic spending - tagliare la spesa pubblica

    to cut down a tree, a wall - abbattere un albero, un muro

    to cut into conversation - interrompere una conversazione

    to cut up meat - tagliare a pezzi la carne
  17. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Interesting idea: abattere is the result (the pragmatic effect) of the cutting, I believe, and so is interrumpere. I would not put them in this list because they do not use the cutting metaphor - but thanks for referring to the English phrases.

    @ hakro: intersect - very interesting, same expression in Dutch (ze snijden elkaar, het snijpunt)

    In fact, this is an extra perspective: the metaphorical use of cutting, as in intersection, the cutting edge, ...
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  18. Favara Senior Member

    Catalan - Southern Val.
    Etimologies taken from DCVB.
    a - cut meat, tallar la carn (vulgar Latin taleare, from talea meaning a branch that's been cut for transplanting)
    a' - cut hair, tallar els cabells
    b - mow grass, tallar l'herba
    c - shear a sheep esquilar una ovella (Germanic root skairan)
    d - prune a tree podar un arbre (Latin putare)
    e - trim the hedge podar la tanca
    f - shave a beard afaitar una barba (Latin affactare?)
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  19. pizzi

    pizzi Senior Member

    Italian, Italy

    scissors, gershere
    saw, sharre (lat. serra)
    knife thike
    blade, teh
    pocket-knife, brisk, biçak
    sword, shpate
    scythe, draper
    razor, brisk rroje

    to cut, pres

    to cut ham, bread in slices, pres rriska-rriska, pres feta-feta
    to shave, rruhem
  20. Orlin Banned

    a - cut meat, a loaf of bread, = режа (rezha)
    a' - cut hair, paper = режа (rezha)
    b - mow grass, the lawn, = кося (kosya)
    c - shear a sheep = стрижа (strizha)
    d - prune a tree = подрязвам, кастря (podryazvam, kastrya)
    e - trim the hedge = подрязвам (podryazvam)
    f - shave a beard = бръсна (brasna)
    Bulgarian verbs have no infinitive and their basic form is 1st p. sg. of the present tense.
  21. Black4blue

    Black4blue Senior Member


    a - cut meat, a loaf of bread: kesmek
    a' - cut hair, paper: kesmek or tıraş etmek
    b - mow grass, the lawn: biçmek
    c - shear a sheep: kırpmak or kesmek
    d - prune a tree: budamak
    e - trim the hedge: no idea
    f - shave a beard: tıraş etmek
  22. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Is kiprmak in some way better than kesmek, B4B? And what is the precise meaning (perhaps)? tıraş etmek is translated as to shave, but Google does not give any explanation for etmek, and translates tıraş as to shave, whereas I wonder: is tıraş an infinitive? I don't think you can use that verb for cutting paper, do you?
  23. Black4blue

    Black4blue Senior Member

    Yeah, If we are talking about a sheep, I must use kırpmak which means crop, shear.
    Tıraş means shave, the noun.
    And when we add some auxiliary verbs (yapmak, etmek, olmak etc...) to some nouns, they become verb. So,
    Tıraş etmek means to shave, the verb.
    In the same way, tıraş olmak means to get shaved.
    Absolutely you cannot use it for a paper.
  24. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see ! Thanks for the information, B4B!
  25. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    1.) Hiwain ang laman(meat)/tinapay(bread) 2.)Gupitan ang Buhok(hair)/ Gupitin ang papel 3.) bawasan ang damo(grass) 4.)Gupitan ang tupa(sheep)5.) Pukanan ang sanga (branch) ng puno(tree) 6.) Pantayin ang gupit ng halaman 7.) ahitin ang balbas(beard)
  26. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    a - cut meat, a loaf of bread = skära kött, skära bröd
    a' - cut hair, paper = klippa hår, klippa papper
    b - mow grass, the lawn = klippa gräset/gräsmattan; slå gräset = hit the grass, when using a scythe
    c - shear a sheep = klippa ett får
    d - prune a tree = beskära ett träd
    e - trim the hedge = beskära en häck
    f - shave a beard = raka av ett skägg

    g - cut wood = hugga ved (with an axe), såga ved (with an saw)
    h - cut with a sword = hugga med ett svärd
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  27. Tamar

    Tamar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew

    To cut meet - לחתוך lakhtoch - this is the usual verb for "cut".
    To cut bread - לבצוע livtsoa - not used anymore. Today we'd use lakhtoch.
    לחתוך lakhtokh is also used when cutting someone off in line, but especially on the road.
    To cut hair - לגזור שיער ligzor - לגזור is to cut with scissors. (But if you get a haircut then it's להסתפר lehistaper).
    To mow grass - לגזום ligzom
    To cut sheep's hair - לגזום ligzom.
    Ligzom would also be the translation for "to trim".
    To prune a tree - also לגזום ligzom.
    Shave - לגלח legale'akh
    To cut with a saw - לנסר lenaser. A saw is מסור masor.
    Snoeien - to cut expenses/costs/budget - לקצץ lakatsets - to chop. Also used when cutting in staff at a place of work - לקצץ עובדים - "to chop" employees.
    לקצץ is also when you make a chopped salad - סלט קצוץ - salat katsuts.
    To harvest - לקצור liktsor. However, olive harvest has a different anme and verb: מסיק זיתים mesik zeytim (n.) The verb is למסוק limsok.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  28. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)

    a - cut meat, a loaf of bread = vág
    a' - cut hair, paper = vág, nyír
    b - mow grass, the lawn, = nyír
    c - shear a sheep = nyír
    d - prune a tree = nyír
    e - trim the hedge = nyír
    f - shave a beard = vág, nyír
  29. ahmedcowon Senior Member


    cut meat = يقطع اللحم yuqaTTe3 (cut)
    cut a loaf of bread = يقسم رغيف الخبز yaqsem (divide)
    cut hair = يقص الشعر yaquss (cut with scissors), يحلق الشعر yaHleq (shave)
    cut paper = يقص الورقة yaquss (cut with scissors), يقطع الورقة yuqaTTe3 (cut)
    mow grass = يجز العشب yajuzz (mow)
    shear sheep = يجز فروة الخروف yajuzz (shear)
    prune a tree = يقلم الشجرة yuqallem (prune)
    trim the hedge = يقلم السياج yuqallem (trim)
    shave a beard = يحلق الذقن yaHleq (shave)
  30. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    @Encolpius: does it make a difference if you vág or nyír hair and paper? Is there a semantic difference somehow?

    @ahmed: do I see a similar root: y-q, y-q-l?

    Do you use any of those metaphorically, in order to refer to cutting down on expenses for example?
  31. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    no, the prefix y tells you that this verb is a present-tense 3rd-person masculine singular (he) verb

    ex. the verb "cut" comes from the root "قطع q-T-3"

    By applying the present-tense patterns you'll get: [past and imperative tenses have other patterns :)]
    يقطع yuqaTTe3 (he cuts) [past: قطع qaTTa3a]
    تقطع tuqaTTe3 (she cuts) [past: قطعت qaTTa3at]

    أقطع 'uqaTTe3 (I cut) [past: قطعت qaTTa3tu]
    نقطع nuqaTTe3 (we cut) [past: قطعنا qaTTa3naa]

    يقطعون yuqaTTe3oon (they cut) plural masculine [past: قطعوا qaTTa3oo]
    يقطعن yuqaTTe3na (they cut) plural feminine [past: قطعن qaTTa3na]
    يقطعان yuqaTTe3aan (they cut) dual masculine [past: قطعا qaTTa3aa]
    تقطعان tuqaTTe3aan (they cut) dual feminine [past: قطعتا qaTTa3ata]

    تقطع tuqaTTe3 (you cut) singular [past: قطعت qaTTa3ta/ti]
    تقطعان tuqaTTe3aan (you cut) dual [past: قطعتما qaTTa3tuma]
    تقطعون tuqaTTe3oon (you cut) plural [past: قطعتم qaTTa3tum]

    we say "lowering the expenses", but we say "cut the road" instead of "block the road"
  32. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see, so no link at all between those verbs. How many different roots do we see there? Some 4 ? (Thanks)
  33. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Only in the case of paper there is a difference, vág = with any sharp object, nyír = only with sciccors
  34. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see, might not be unimportant...
  35. Messquito

    Messquito Senior Member

    台灣台北 Taipei, Taiwan
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
    In Chinese,
    (1) cutting with scissors is 剪 (you work the two blades together to cut)
    (2) cutting with knife is 切 (you kind of just drop the blade quick and separate things in halves/pieces)
    (3) cutting with box cutter is 割 (you kind of work the blade from one point to another, following a line and make an opening)
    So what is the case in your language?
    Do you use the same word, like in English, for "cut", or do you have different words for different tools?
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  36. Armas Senior Member

    Finnish also has veistää and vuolla which are used when cutting wood with a knife.
  37. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    In Japanese:
    kir-u - to cut

    a :tick: niku-wo kiru(cut meet)
    a' :tick: kami wo kiru(cut hair)
    b :cross: siba wo karu(mow grass)
    c :cross: hitsuji no ke wo karu(shear a sheep) or kegari wo suru(do shearing) [kegari = ke(wool, fur) + gari(shearing) with vocalization]
    d :tick: ki wo kiru(cut a tree)
    e :cross: ikegaki wo karu(trim the hedge) or ikegaki no teire wo suru(do caring of the hedge)
    f :tick: hige wo kiru(cut a beard) but hige wo soru(to shave a beard) is more general

    We all use same verb 切る(kir-u).
    はさみで切る hasami de kir-u.
    ナイフで切る naifu de kir-u.
    カッターで切る kattaa de kir-u.
  38. Holger2014 Senior Member

    German: The closest equivalent to the English verb 'cut' is schneiden. It can be used in most cases:
    - an- to begin to do something, to cut something partly
    - zer- can express the idea of completed action (or an action to be completed, being completed), here 'to cut into pieces'
    - be- is a very frequent verbal suffix and here it might express the idea of cutting 'around' something
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015

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