Cut Ties With (Someone): Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
November 5, 2023

The expression "cut ties with (someone)" signifies the intentional ending or severing of a relationship or connection with that person. It's like saying, "I no longer wish to maintain a relationship or be associated with this individual." This phrase can be applied in diverse contexts, from personal relationships to business partnerships, and denotes a decisive move to distance oneself or break away from someone due to differences, conflicts, or other reasons.

In short:

"Cut ties with (someone)" means to end or sever a relationship or connection with someone.

What Does "Cut Ties With (Someone)" Mean?

When we say "cut ties with (someone)," we're talking about ending a relationship or connection. This can be in a personal, professional, or other context. The relationship could be a friendship, a business partnership, or any other kind of association.

  • It often indicates a purposeful and sometimes final decision.
  • The relationship or connection has likely become harmful or non-beneficial.
  • It can be temporary or permanent.

Related expressions include "burn bridges," which means to end a relationship in such a way that it cannot be mended, and "part ways," which means to go in different directions, either physically or metaphorically.

Where Does "Cut Ties With (Someone)" Come From?

The origin of this phrase is not definitively documented, but it likely draws from various cultural and historical practices where physical ties or cords were symbolic of relationships or obligations. For example, physical cords or ribbons symbolize unity or commitment in many traditional ceremonies, such as weddings or rites of passage. Cutting such a cord could symbolize the end of that commitment or unity.

Historical Example

"In order to establish its independence, Ukraine adopted an economic plan in early 1992 that deliberately cut ties with Russia."

- Economic Interdependence in Ukrainian-Russian Relations: Descartes to Kant, 1999

10 Examples of "Cut Ties With (Someone)" in Sentences

Let's look at how this idiom can be used in different contexts:

  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but after much consideration, I've decided to cut ties with Jason due to our irreconcilable differences.
  • Many companies cut ties with suppliers that don't meet ethical standards.
  • He had to cut ties with his old friends to lead a healthier lifestyle.
  • After the disagreement, they decided to cut ties and go their separate ways.
  • The country cut ties with its ally after a diplomatic dispute.
  • Jane cut ties with her childhood friend after moving to a different city.
  • After that argument, she told him, "I'm done with you," and decided to cut ties completely.
  • The brand decided to cut ties with the celebrity after a controversial statement.
  • In their ambition to climb the social ladder, some people readily cut ties with old friends they deem unbeneficial.
  • I've decided to cut ties with Derek, no questions asked; it's just what I need to do now.

Examples of "Cut Ties With (Someone)" in Pop Culture

  • In the TV series "Breaking Bad," Walter White cuts ties with his partner, Jesse Pinkman, multiple times throughout the show.
  • In Taylor Swift's song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," she sings about cutting ties with a past lover.
  • Many movies, like "The Social Network," showcase characters who cut ties with friends or business partners due to disputes.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Cut Ties With (Someone)"

There are many ways to express the concept of ending a relationship or connection:

  • Break off relations
  • Sever connections
  • Part ways
  • Burn bridges
  • Burn boats
  • End an association
  • Terminate a relationship

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Cut Ties With (Someone)"

  • What does "cut ties with someone" mean?

It refers to ending or severing a relationship or connection with someone, either temporarily or permanently.

  • Is this idiom used only in negative contexts?

No, while it often implies a negative reason for ending the relationship, it can also be used in neutral or even positive contexts, like outgrowing a situation or moving on to better opportunities.

  • Where did the phrase "cut ties" originate?

The expression can be traced back to symbolic representations where the tying of knots or cords depicted relationships. To "cut ties" meant to break that bond.

  • Is "burn bridges" the same as "cut ties"?

They are similar, but "burn bridges" is a more severe form, suggesting there's no going back.

  • Can businesses "cut ties" with other businesses?

Yes, businesses can and do end relationships or partnerships with other entities for various reasons.

  • Are there other idioms related to relationships?

Yes, idioms like "burn bridges," "mend fences," and "cross paths" all relate to relationships in different ways.

  • How common is this idiom in everyday speech?

It's quite common and is used in various contexts, both personal and professional.

  • Is the idiom used globally?

While the concept is understood globally, the exact phrasing might differ in other languages or cultures.

  • Can this idiom be used in formal writing?

Yes, it's versatile and can be used in both casual and formal contexts.

  • Does "cutting ties" always indicate a negative or bad relationship?

Not always. While often it might indicate issues, it can also represent personal growth or a change in direction.

Final Thoughts About "Cut Ties With (Someone)"

"Cut ties with someone" is indicative of ending a relationship or connection deliberately. It's about making a conscious decision to distance oneself from an individual due to disagreements, evolving values, or other personal reasons. Whether you're a professional dissolving a partnership, someone leaving a toxic relationship, or just parting ways with old habits, this expression effectively conveys separation.

Here's a quick wrap-up:

  • The phrase represents the ending of a connection or relationship.
  • Its origins are traced back to symbolic representations of relationships.
  • It can be used in various contexts, from personal to professional.

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