What Does Cut a Rug Mean Sexually?

When someone is said to cut a rug, it means that they are dancing vigorously. This phrase is a type of slang that first appeared in the 1920’s when young persons, much like today, developed their own jargon or slang to communicate within their peer groups. The meaning of this phrase is fairly straightforward and it may be related to the way in which carpets wear.


It’s difficult to say exactly when and where the expression to cut a rug first appeared. As with many slang words, it became popular among a specific group of young persons who developed their own jargon or slang to describe their activities within their peer groups. It may have been a synonym for dancing, much like other terms such as “get down” or “boogie.”

Some theorists suggest that the term is connected to the idea of vigorous dance movements that could potentially wear out carpets. This explanation is supported by the fact that it was most popular in the 1920s, an era when more energetic dances began to become fashionable. The term was also used to describe very skilled dancers, a nod to their impressive moves that could indeed be said to cut the rug. It may also refer to a carpet being taken up or moved to facilitate dancing, as would be the case when a spontaneous dance party begins and rugs need to be moved out of the way.

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The meaning of cut a rug is to dance vigorously and energetically. This slang expression may have been popularized in the 1920s, as more vigorous styles of dance emerged. The phrase may be a reference to the idea that vigorous dancers are cutting up carpets, or it could be a disparaging comment made by more traditional dancers. Modern and jazz dances, in particular, are often associated with this idiom, although it is occasionally used to describe waltzes or other more formal dancing as well.

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘cut a rug.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors.


Like most slang, the meaning of cut a rug has been disputed. The expression likely originated in the 1920s as a way to describe energetic dancing. Its popularity grew until the 1940s when it began to fade into obscurity. Today, it is often used to compliment someone’s dance moves. The phrase can be used to describe any type of dance, including modern and jazz dances. Other synonyms for the expression include bust a move, shake your groove thing, and boogie down.

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Some linguists believe the expression refers to the idea that copious amounts of dancing will wear out a carpet. This is based on the fact that worn carpets will sometimes show small slits that look like cuts. Others think that it is a reference to the fact that people who cut a rug are known for their outstanding dancing skills. This is a compliment because it implies that the person knows how to dance and moves effortlessly.

Regardless of its origins, the phrase has become a part of popular culture. It can be heard in a variety of media, including music and movies. It is also commonly used in the context of a house party, where rugs are often moved to make room for dancing. Whether it is a way to compliment a friend’s dancing or an expression of interest in someone, the phrase is both charming and fun.


As is the case with most slang expressions, no one knows exactly how or why “cut a rug” came to be. It may have been coined in the 1920’s when energetic dances such as the jitterbug became popular. Its popularity continued into the 1940’s, but it faded into obscurity. It has remained in use, though, by authors writing books that are set in the era in which it was first popularized. It saw a brief resurgence in the 1990’s.

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Some linguists believe the phrase was based on the idea that vigorous dancing can wear carpets down so much that they show minute slits that look like cuts. Others believe the phrase is a reference to the high energy jitterbug dance itself. In any event, it is a charmingly descriptive way to talk about dancing. It is certainly true that those who cut a mean rug tend to dance with an exuberance that makes them hard to ignore! So next time you find yourself on a crowded dance floor, remember that someone who is cutting a rug is likely causing quite a scene. You may even want to follow them to see what all the fuss is about! (Courtesy of Merriam-Webster)

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