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Learn English: What does the phrase 'cutting edge' mean?

Kitchen knife flat on chopping board with chopped herbs
The sharp edge of a knife can be referred to as the 'cutting edge'.

Pexels CC: Tookapic


Cutting edge can describe the edge of a sharp knife but it can be also used to talk about new ideas. Read on to find out the meaning of 'cutting edge'.

As a noun a ‘cutting edge’ refers to the sharp edge of a blade that is used to cut objects.

A high-technology facility and two people in hazmat suits
'Cutting edge', as an adjective, refers to something that is extremely advanced and new.

Pixabay: WikiImages

As an adjective 'cutting edge’ refers to something that is the newest, most advanced of its kind.

Space shuttle lift off and cloud of smoke below
"The research comes from a company at the cutting edge of space science."

Pixabay CC: NASA-Imagery

To be 'at the cutting edge'  means to be at the forefront, where new developments are taking place.

Female models walking down a fashion catwalk
"The fashion designer's collection was described as 'cutting edge'."

Unsplash CC: Kris Atomic

Although mostly used to refer to new science or technology, we sometimes use 'cutting edge' to refer to other fields.

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