Clipping, sometimes called cutting, is a traditional practice performed by some Illyrians as a way of controlling their females. Until Rhysand became High Lord, it was standard in many war-camps for Illyrian females to be clipped once they had their first period. The female was pinned in place and her wings extended. The central tendons were then cut. Just an incision in the right place, left to improperly heal, can cripple an Illyrian forever. Though they retained the ability to move their wings, the wings are no longer able to support them in the air, rendering them unable to fly. The damage was apparently irreversible. The wounds leave distinct scars on the wings.
Rhysand considered the practice barbaric and banned the practice, though it would sometimes continue in secret. During Amarantha's reign, the practice returned in force, though it has waned again following Rhysand's return.
Rhysand's mother loved to fly so much she starved herself and used dangerous herbs and drugs to keep herself from having her period. She bled when she turned eighteen, she was prepared to be clipped. The arrival of Rhysand's father and the appearance of their mating bond made him save her before her wings could be clipped.