From my understanding:

cut off is a verb and cutoff or cut-off is a noun. 

Am I right? Or is the BBC right? Can "cut off" also be a noun?

I am confused because of the following sentences taken from this BBC article: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-68643341

  1. "There was a lot of anticipation at the finish line and three minutes before the 60 hour cut off we heard shouting and a roar and it was people cheering Jasmin.
  2. "She was sprinting and giving it her all as there was no room for error because otherwise she would not have made the cut off.
  3. Jasmin Paris from Midlothian completed the Barkley Marathons in Tennessee with just one minute 39 seconds to spare of the 60-hour cut off.

1 Answer 1


You're right that "cutoff" is a closed compound noun. "Cut off" can be used as a verb phrase; however, Cambridge Dictionary notes that 'cut-off' (hyphenated) is an acceptable form of the noun.

You'll find that other compound nouns are not always written uniformly - sometimes they are hyphenated, and sometimes not, but closed compound nouns (where the words are combined without a space or a hyphen) are usually the accepted form.

Why the BBC uses it this way without a hyphen, I can't say. However, most journalists follow the style guide provided to them by their publisher. The point of style guides is consistency and readability as much as grammatical correctness. The fact it is consistently used throughout the article suggests it isn't a mistake.

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