cut to the bone

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cut to the bone

1. To cut or slice something deeply. A noun can be used between "cut" and "to." Your arm is cut to the bone—you definitely need to go to the emergency room! Mom asked me to cut the meat to the bone.
2. To reduce or decrease something significantly. A noun 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.
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

to the bone

To an extreme degree: was chilled to the bone; cut the budget to the bone.
See also: bone