cut to the bone


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Related to cut to the bone: bone to pick

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

cut (or pare) something to the bone

reduce something to the bare minimum.
See also: bone, cut, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Although speaking of short stories as epic is oxymoronic, no other term does justice to these tales of a civilization cut to the bone. Little happens in them, and yet the little that does exposes fundamental shifts in perspective, which, of course, alter everything except, as the title story ruefully acknowledges, the human heart.
Consequently, labor conditions in much of the garment industry, both in and outside the U.S., once again resemble the turn-of-the-century heyday of the preunion American sweatshop: a work force of underskilled women, toiling in fly-by-night factories where labor costs are cut to the bone from underbidding, and where benefits, safety, and health insurance are unheard of.
Everyone challenges everyone else to cut deeper, to cut to the bone, to eradicate root and branch all those costly Federal programs that should have been eliminated long ago--that have no useful purpose any more, if they ever had one.
Dr Murray, pictured, said: "Vital local services in our region have already been cut to the bone as a result of cuts inflicted by the Scottish Government.
Our public services are already cut to the bone because the Tory party are too corrupt to tax their paymasters at even the legal rates of corporation tax , and are loth to tax super rich individuals at all, so how will the fall in revenue be met?
We can see it, too, in the seven years of brutal Tory austerity which saw once-cherished public services cut to the bone and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.
"Like every other school in the county we are looking at where we can make savings, but we have cut to the bone in previous years," he said.
Being as we have been told of council tax increase being possible, and job losses in the council, facilities like road sweeping, litter picking and gully emptying will be cut to the bone.
He has abused his position by forcing through the purchase of an airport without any obvious consideration to the taxpayers of Wales, the health service is being cut to the bone, people are dying in ambulances waiting to be seen at hospitals, the education system is in tatters.
Mick Statham, from Peterborough, lost his balance on the rocks at Dolgoch Falls, suffering a head injury and damage to his knees, with one leg being cut to the bone.
Public sector budgets continue to be cut to the bone and countless workers, if not fighting to hang onto their jobs, are experiencing pay freezes which are effectively year-on-year pay cuts.
Benefits to the old, poor, sick, disabled and unemployed have been cut to the bone. I wonder how many of the aforementioned people David Cameron thinks are going to vote Conservative?
In Birmingham there are going to be whole areas and communities that literally fall out of society as key services are cut to the bone."
Pay packets have been decimated by taxes, services cut to the bone and gardai starved of resources.