cut to the quick

(redirected from stung to the 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 somebody to the quick

to upset someone by criticizing them (usually passive) I was cut to the quick by her harsh remarks.
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 classic literature ?
said Levin, stung to the quick by his brother's words; "I don't understand.
said Sergey Ivanovitch, stung to the quick too at his brother's considering anything of no importance that interested him, and still more at his obviously paying little attention to what he was saying.
They had been stung to the quick, also, by the vaunting airs assumed by the Northwesters.
Not a bit of it," said Razumihin, stung to the quick.
Soon, however, and naturally enough, the father of sin returned to sloth and obstinacy, and Martin hurried him again with repeated signs of the Cross, till, twitched and stung to the quick by those crossings so hateful to him, the vexed and tired reprobate uttered the following distich in a rage:</p> <pre> Signa te, signa; temere me tangis et angis, Roma tibi subito motibus ibit amor.
He who through a natural mildness and easygoingness should despise injuries received would do a very fine and praiseworthy thing; but he who, outraged and stung to the quick by an injury, should arm himself with the arms of reason against this furious appetite for vengeance, and after a great conflict should finally master it, would without doubt do much more.