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Cut vs Hew vs Chop vs Carve vs Slit vs Slash

Cut, hew, chop, carve, slit, slash mean to penetrate and divide something with a sharp-bladed tool or instrument (as a knife, ax, or sword).

Cut is by far the most comprehensive term, for it is not only interchangeable with any other word in the group but also with any of a large number of verbs that suggest use of a specific instrument (as knife, shear, reap, or mow) or dividing in a certain way (as mince or shred) or an operation having a definite end (as prune, lop, or amputate).

Often it requires an adverb to describe the process or purpose more clearly. Its extended uses are many: usually it implies a result (as separation or isolation) similar to one produced by cutting or one (as distress or pain) suggestive of a stabbing or hurting.

Hew is not only more restricted in its application than cut but it carries far more explicit implications. It usually suggests the use of a heavy tool (as an ax, a sword, or chisel) which calls for the expenditure of much effort in the cutting or shaping of large, difficult, or résistent objects or material.

Chop implies a cleaving or dividing by a quick, heavy blow (as of an ax, a cleaver, or a hatchet) or, more often, a dividing into pieces by repeated blows of this character.

Carve has come to be restricted to two types of cutting. The first requires the use of special tools (as chisels and gouges) and has for its end the artistic shaping, fashioning, or adornment of a material (as stone, ivory, or wood).

The second requires a sharp knife and has for its end the cutting up and especially the slicing of meat at table in pieces suitable for serving.

Slit implies the making of a lengthwise cut; except that it suggests the use of a sharp clean-cutting instrument (as scissors, a scalpel, a sword, or a knife) it carries no clear connotations as to the extent of the cut in depth or in length.

Slash also implies a lengthwise cut but usually suggests a sweeping stroke (as with a sharp sword, knife, or machete) that inflicts a deep and long cut or wound: very frequently it connotes repeated cuts and often furious or rough-andtumble fighting.