cut to the quick

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cut (one) to the quick

1. To slice a part of the body very deeply. Be careful—one slip of that knife and you'll cut yourself to the quick.
2. To strike the deepest, most fragile part of one. Typically used to describe emotional wounds. I can't even look at her right now—that hurtful remark cut me right to the quick.
See also: cut, quick

cut someone to the quick

 and cut someone to the bone 
1. Lit. to slice the flesh of someone or some animal clear through to the underlying layer of flesh or to the bone. With the very sharp knife, David cut the beast to the quick in one blow. He cut his finger to the quick with the sharp knife.
2. Fig. to injure someone emotionally. (See also cut something to the bone.) Your heartless comments cut me to the quick. Her remarks cut him to the bone.
See also: cut, quick

cut to the quick

Deeply wound or distress, as in His criticism cut her to the quick. This phrase uses the quick in the sense of a vital or a very sensitive part of the body, such as under the fingernails. It also appeared in such older locutions as touched to the quick, for "deeply affected," and stung to the quick, for "wounded, distressed," both dating from the early 1500s. The current expression was considered a cliché from about 1850 on.
See also: cut, quick
References in periodicals archive ?
There was a time when the tragedy of wives who were 'left' by husbands cut to the quick every right-minded woman.
Michael Caine knew how to cut to the quick as we witnessed in Get Carter (1971).
Devised by a mother in Arizona who said she realised how much her son was hurting inside when his father kept failing to show up for visits, the cards certainly cut to the quick.
He was thus sorely cut to the quick earlier this week when the celebrated Dublin novelist Roddy Doyle mocked his book in an interview linked to the publication of his own latest work based on the life of his parents.
That's a lot for modern-day audiences to digest, and yet "Luther" knows when to cut to the quick.
This draw cut to the quick and the former Aston Villa striker knows the flak will fly.
But she was cut to the quick when Dan, right, shot back: "Says her.
While one can imagine a defter staging of an episodic text that cries out for a turntable set rather than Giles Cadle's cleverly paneled all-purpose space, writer-director LaBute demonstrates an ability to cut to the quick that surpasses the thudding ironies of his monologue-driven "bash.
It's a tough midweek for punters with the teams who have something to play for cut to the quick.
Boxer's subtly fierce performance is the linchpin of an able ensemble that knows when to reach, flamboyantly, for laughs (Liza Sadovy's fur-clad Leading Actress is especially ripe), but also how to cut to the quick.