close to the bone

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Related to close to the bone: bone to pick

close to the bone

Very close to the truth in a hurtful way. Of course I'm mad—dad's remarks about how I'm wasting my life were close to the bone.
See also: bone, close, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

close to the bone

If a remark or piece of writing is close to the bone, it is about things that are true but which make people uncomfortable or offended. Penny said `Let's talk about Christina.' But for Buck, this was getting dangerously close to the bone. This isn't strictly satire, it's far too close to the bone to be funny. Note: You can also say that a remark or a piece of writing is near to the bone. `We'd better end here because this is getting...' She did not finish the sentence, but I guess she was going to say `too near to the bone'. Compare with near the knuckle.
See also: bone, close, to
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

close to (or near) the bone

1 (of a remark) penetrating and accurate to the point of causing hurt or discomfort. 2 (of a joke or story) likely to cause offence because near the limit of decency.
See also: bone, close, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

close to/near the ˈbone

(informal) likely to offend or upset somebody because, for example, a remark contains elements of truth: Some of the things she said to him about his failure to find work were a bit close to the bone.
See also: bone, close, near, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Jonathan Hough, barrister assisting the coroner, asked the witness: "Was time available, enough for patrols in winter?" "It was very close to the bone," Mr Wills replied, "It was pushing it."
Compression-stabilized sockets are made with four long depressions that push the tissue close to the bone and prevent motion.
'The King's Speech' is close to the bone as it is a portrayal of her family in the 1930s.
Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey by Jean Shinoda Bolen (Conari Press, 978-1-57324-303-2)
Then, starting close to the bone, they work outward to reconnect muscles and tendons (tissues that connect muscles to the bone) and nerves, before sewing up the skin.
Some of the songs and chants are a bit close to the bone, but in the old days it was known as banter.
Indeed, Tuttle's version of minimalism, first conceived as a corrective to Minimalism proper (that of Robert Morris in 1964, or of Donald Judd the following year) can cut dangerously close to the bone. But that danger is built into his process, in part because cutting is one of the artist's signature means.
Now the question is, how close to the bone can suppliers go?
Baseotto's response was too close to the bone for the government, however, as it recalled the "flights of death" during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, when suspected dissidents were dropped from airplanes into the sea, sometimes with priests present giving blessing.
At 42, this recovering alcoholic has a perspective that comes only from a life lived hard and close to the bone. At her best, this gravelly-voiced southerner who questions the nature of love and life, comes across equal parts Hank Williams and Leonard Cohen, wrapped in a woman's soul.
Stewart's raffish history cuts close to the bone and suggests to this reader that today's textbooks may be approaching the end of their run.
Stephen's insight, interpretation, and proclamation were so close to the bone that his hearers could not stand it.
Nonetheless, his writing is honest, close to the bone, upsetting and thought provoking, without the usual polite sugar coating we often use in discussing racism in America.
It was created because it's cheaper to make food that way, and most people live close to the bone.
CEOs also need someone to talk with, as many of his of her problems, hopes and fears cannot be discussed with employees as they cut too close to the bone.