"cut" = "hold" ~ 'leave out' (in food-ordering parlance)

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Mar 15 15:11:57 UTC 2007

During my childhood and young adulthood in the 1950s and 1960s--in a small eastern Texas town, then at the University of Texas--the only verb in my dialect with which to instruct a commercial food-preparer (at a lunch counter, for instance) to omit a standard ingredient was "cut." For example, ordering a hamburger, one might tell the order-taker, "Cut the onions" or "Cut the mayonnaise." (Adolescent giggles could occur if the injunction concerned "the mustard" or "the cheese.")

When I moved to Los Angeles in my mid 20's, I discovered that speakers from other parts of the country were likely to use the verb "hold" for the purpose (and also that "Hold the mayonnaise" was probably a superfluous request).

I can't find either "cut" or "hold" in this particular use in the OED or DARE (or HDAS, but it isn't really slang), although the use is easily derivable from recorded senses of each word.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list