chase » cheese

Chiefly in:   cut to the cheese

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • Ho! Ho! Ho! Right, nae messin about, let’s cut to the cheese and deal with the facts. The real reason Rangers lost was because Celtic fans kept hiding the ball. (Evening Times (UK), Feb 15, 2006)
  • After about thirty minutes of being asked ridiculous questions about ridiculous things (where I got my MSCE, where I got my degree, what my teachers names were, etc), they cut to the cheese: Somebody called the shop and started spreading some serious subterfuge! (Neohapsis archives, Jul 09, 2004)
  • I’m looking for a primer, cut to the cheese type of book with some examples in C or assembly as talking about real-time is much easier than getting down and dirty. (comp.realtime, Aug 17, 1993)
  • Well, to cut to the cheese - what I hope to do with this post is to start a discussion about the features I’ve suggested below and also maybe get some new thoughts on the table. (, Apr 15, 2000)

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms has the following about _cut to the chase_:

> Get to the point, get on with it, as in _We don’t have time to go into that, so let’s cut to the chase_. This usage alludes to editing (cutting) film so as to get to the exciting chase scene in a motion picture. [Slang; 1920s]

I can only guess that the variant _cut to the cheese_ relies on a similar idea, only related to food: a cheese course is usually served at the end of a meal.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2006/03/06 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Ellen , 2006/03/06 at 5:40 pm

    Perhaps this came about due (at least in part) to a confusion with the saying “cut the cheese”?

  2. 2

    Commentary by jim , 2006/03/06 at 11:41 pm

    Many such reshapings are laminations of two sayings, in this case, “Who cut the cheese?” in reference to something offensive to the olfactory organ, and “Cut to the chase.” — Jim

  3. 3

    Commentary by Ann , 2006/03/22 at 8:12 pm

    I very much doubt that “cut to the cheese” is a reference to a cheese course, since cheese courses are quite unusual in modern American or British meals. The user knows what the “sense” of the phrase is, but not the phrase itself.

  4. 4

    Commentary by David , 2006/04/06 at 9:31 pm

    This is OBVIOUSLY a confusion with “cut the cheese,” since it differs only by a single preposition, and would therefore sound more or less familiar to someone who wasn’t paying attention.

  5. 5

    Commentary by Rachel , 2006/08/29 at 11:14 am

    The origin of ‘cut to the chase’ is pretty obscure, so it’s not surprising that cheese could get substituted, even without semantic justification.

  6. 6

    Commentary by johnno , 2006/09/13 at 9:42 am

    my thoughts on this lead me to the preamble before a (esp. a group) photograph is taken. While the photographer is readying him/herself there is a there is general( non-essential to the plot) activity . Maybe fidgetting or carrying-on until the pose is struck. Then the camera pilot says “say cheese”. The association with the word ‘cut’ also lends itself to this.

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