cut and thrust


cut and thrust


  • furious contest, discussion, etc.
  • to be in the middle of fierce competition or debate
  • a very lively atmosphere, almost charged
  • an argument that is interesting as well as exciting
  • a lively debate or activity in which people can compete with each other

Example Sentences

  1. The man is not sure if he has it in him to appreciate the cut and thrust of such a huge organisational business.
  2. The cut and thrust of this political debate went beyond everything that I have ever witnessed in this sphere.
  3. She is totally into the cut and thrust of her college.
  4. I love the cut and thrust of this business, I am here to stay.
  5. She realized very soon that she won’t suited to the cut and thrust approach of modern journalism.


This is mainly a phrase used in British English. The “cut” part of the phrase comes from “cut throat competition” which also brings about the competitive nature of the phrase. The “thrust” refers to the “grinding” that a person has to go through in order to achieve something. The literary origin of the phrase is somewhere in the 1800’s where the common people had a lot of cut and thrust in order to get along with life as usual. The Lords on the other hand had an entirely opposite, luxurious life.

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That, as any Britisher will tell you, is a lot of cobblers. The term originates in battle; specifically it was a means by which Royal Navy landing parties made their way through hostile groups. That is, by steadily moving forwards, alternately cutting and thrusting with their cutlasses.

- Peter Marsh May 8, 2022

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