Cut to the chase

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Cut to the chase is a saying that means to get to the point without wasting time.

The phrase originated from early silent films. It was a favorite of, and thought to have been coined by, Hal Roach Sr. (January 14, 1892 – November 2, 1992). Films, particularly comedies, often climaxed in chase scenes to add to film time. Some inexperienced screenwriters or directors, unsure of how to get to the climax or who didn't have enough script to meet time requirements, would just make an abrupt transition, known as a cut.

An earlier version of the phrase (recorded 1880-1940) was Cut to Hecuba. This refers to the practice of shortening matinée performances of Hamlet by cutting the long speeches before the reference to Hecuba in Act II, Scene ii.[1]


  1. ^ "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases", ed. Eric Partridge & Paul Beale, 2nd ed. 1985, p.59; ISBN 0-7102-0495-7