Cut a deal

Man holding out his hand for a handshake to cut a deal
Businessman giving hand for a shake

When two people or organizations negotiate an agreement so that each one profits, they cut a deal. You each have to give up, or "cut", some of what you want so that you can both make some profit, even if it's not as much as you wanted.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • I think we can cut a deal where they get ownership of the brand but we get a larger percentage of the profits.
  • The Prime Minister cut a deal with the governor saying the central government would give them more money if they would allow military troops to stay in the prefecture.

You can also use it to start a negotiation: 

A: I don't think I'll be able to take on this project. The payment isn't worth the time and energy required to execute it the way you'd like it done.
B: Maybe we can cut a deal. Let's talk.

Did you know? The phrase "cut a deal" became popular in the 1970s. No one's quite sure where it comes from, but you can remember it easily by imagining that you are "cutting" things out of your offers until you can agree on the deal.