cut to the bone

(redirected from be cut to the bone)

cut to the bone

1. To cut or slice someone or something so deep that it reaches the bone beneath the flesh. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "to." It looks like the sawblade cut to the bone. We'd better get him to an emergency room as fast as possible, or he could lose his arm! Mom asked me to cut the meat to the bone.
2. To reduce or decrease something significantly. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "to." The arts program at my alma mater has been cut to the bone. Our department needs to cut our spending to the bone this quarter.
3. To wound someone emotionally. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "to." My mother-in-law's insulting comments really cut me to the bone—I'm still pretty upset. He can cut to the bone sometimes with his criticism, but it's always done with the intent of bettering your work.
See also: bone, cut

cut something to the bone

 
1. Lit. to slice deep to a bone. The knife cut John to the bone. He had to be sewed up. Cut each slice of ham to the bone. Then each slice will be as big as possible.
2. Fig. to cut down severely (on something). (To the bone emphasizes the severity of the cutting.) We cut our expenses to the bone and are still losing money. Congress had to cut expenditures to the bone in order to balance the budget.
See also: bone, cut

cut to the bone

Severely reduced, as in During the Depression Grandmother's housekeeping money was cut to the bone. The phrase to the bone, literally meaning "through the flesh to the inmost part or core," dates from about 1400. This expression in effect means that everything extraneous has been cut away so that only bone remains.
See also: bone, cut

cut to the bone

COMMON If resources or costs are cut to the bone, they are reduced as much as they possibly can be. We managed to break even by cutting costs to the bone. Note: Verbs such as pare, shave, and strip are sometimes used instead of cut. The universities feel they have already been pared to the bone by government cuts. Eric had taken on the competition by shaving his running costs to the bone and offering the lowest prices possible.
See also: bone, cut

cut (or pare) something to the bone

reduce something to the bare minimum.
See also: bone, cut, something
References in periodicals archive ?
Public services like the NHS and education would be cut to the bone.We can't go back to boom and bust again.