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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.
pare (something) to the bone
To reduce or decrease something significantly. A noun can be used between "pare" and "to." The arts program at my alma mater has been pared to the bone. Our department needs to pare our spending to the bone this quarter.
pare (something) down
1. Literally, to shave off small pieces of something to make it smaller. You need to pare down your nails—they're like little daggers! If you pair the boards down on either side, they should fit into the space.
2. To reduce or decrease something in small increments. We've had to continually pare down out expenses ever since one of our investors pulled out. See if you can pare your report down a bit—15 pages is far too long.
1. To remove something (from a larger portion or something else) by snipping, trimming, or shaving. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pare" and "off." He sat on the porch quietly paring off the skin from the apple. We need to pare a bit of wood off to make these table legs even.
2. To snip, trim, or shave something off something. A noun or pronoun is used between "pare" and "off." I just want to pare these overgrown leaves off the shrub. The statue looks a little uneven—could you pare a bit off the left side?
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.
pare something down (to something)
to cut someone down to something or a smaller size. I will have to pare the budget down to the minimum. I hope we can pare down the budget. After much arguing, we pared it down.
pare something off (of) somethingand pare something off
to cut something off something.(Of is usually retained before pronouns.) See if you can pare a bit of this extra wood off the edge of the base of this pillar. Pare off some of the wood.
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.
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.
cut, pare, etc. something to the ˈbonereduce something to the point where no further reduction is possible: We have cut the costs of the business to the bone, but they are still too high for us to make any profit.
1. To reduce the size of something by cutting or shaving off its outer layers; trim something: I pared down the tiles so that they would fit snugly together. The pegs were too big for the hole, so I pared them down with a pocketknife.
2. To reduce the size or amount of something by gradually taking away parts of it: We should pare down the supplies we keep in our storage room until we have only what we absolutely need. The article was too long, and it took me a long time to pare it down.