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Cutting is the separation of a physical object, or a portion of a physical object, into two portions, through the application of an acutely directed force. An implement commonly used for cutting is the knife. However, any sufficiently sharp object is capable of cutting if it has a hardness sufficiently larger than the object being cut, and if it is applied with sufficient force.

Cutting is a compressive and shearing phenomenon, and only occurs when the total stress generated by the cutting implement exceeds the ultimate strength of the material of the object being cut. The simplest applicable equation is stress = force/area: The stress generated by a cutting implement is directly proportional to the force with which it is applied, and inversely proportional to the area of contact. Hence, the smaller the area (i.e., the sharper the cutting implement), the less force is needed to cut something.

For the computing sense, see: cut and paste

Cutting is also a Disc jockey technique.

A cutting is also a part a plant removed to propagate a new plant through rooting or grafting.