Abrasive waterjet (AWJ) machining is a new non-conventional machining technology. Compared with other conventional and non-conventional machining technologies, AWJ offers the following advantages: no thermal distortion, small machining force, high machining versatility, etc. Therefore this technology is regarded as a high potential technology in the field of machining difficult-to-cut materials. In this paper, a comprehensive review of research situation about the cutting performance, the cutting mechanism and the measures to improve the cutting quality is given. The application of abrasive waterjet machining in turning, milling and drilling is reviewed finally.