Can we just cut in? Tim Bowen’s back with another look at these phrasal verbs.

The phrasal verb cut in can be used to mean ‘to interrupt’, especially in the context of a meeting, where you might hear expressions like ‘If I could just cut in there ….’ or ‘Can I cut in for a moment?’ 

Another context in which cut in can be used is that of driving, where it means to drive past a vehicle and move quickly in front of it in a dangerous manner, as in ‘We were just coming up to the lights when an old white van cut in in front of us’. 

If a piece of electronic equipment cuts in, it starts operating automatically when it is needed, as in ‘The cooling system cuts in when the temperature gets too high’. 

If something cuts into your time or your money, it reduces the amount of it that is available to you, as in ‘The extra workload at school is really cutting into my free time’ or ‘The economic downturn has cut into company budgets’. 

If a gas, water or electricity supply is cut off, it is disconnected, as in ‘Their phone was cut off because they hadn’t paid the bill for three months’. A source of money can also be cut off, as in ‘The local council is threatening to cut off our funding’. 

Weather conditions can also lead to a person or place being cut off, as in ‘The town was completely cut off by the floods’ or ‘We were cut off for days by heavy snow’. 

If a telephone conversation is cut off, it is interrupted because of a break in the connection, as in ‘Sorry. I think we were cut off just then so I called you back’.