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Related to paring: paring knife, paring chisel
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Actions that highlight one's unwillingness or reluctance to spend money. Primarily heard in UK. Get used to her cheese-paring because she never gives money to anyone.

pare (something) to the bone

To reduce or decrease something significantly. A noun or pronoun 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.
See also: bone, pare, to

pare down

1. Literally, to shave off small pieces of something to make it smaller. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pare" and "down." You need to pare down your nails—they're like little daggers! If you pare the boards down on either side, they should fit into the space.
2. To reduce or decrease something in small increments. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pare" and "down." 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.
See also: down, pare

pare off

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?
See also: off, pare
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: down, pare

pare something off (of) something

 and 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.
See also: off, pare
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pare down

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.
See also: down, pare
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Set contains: Carving knife, bread knife, cook's knife, vegetable knife, paring knife and wooden knife block.
Set contains: Cook's knife, bread knife, filleting knife, serrated utility knife, paring knife, sharpening steel and wooden knife block.
After a week, the distribution of the dyes revealed that paring had begun; a week later, the receptors at that spot and their connecting nerve endings had disappeared, Lichtman reports.
The Autumn Knife Set Colori pairs an orange serrated paring knife with a black paring knife, and the Citrus Knife Set Colori combines a yellow paring knife with a green serrated knife.
The Autumn and Citrus Knife Sets Colori are available for a suggested retail price of $16 each, and the set of three paring knives for $24.
According to Reuters, US-based Wachovia Corp (NYSE: WB) has announced that it has almost completed the process of paring loans and securities from its balance sheet.
The bank said that it is 'almost done' with paring USD20bn of loans and securities from its balance sheet.
The classic methods of enhancing working capital are, of course, paring back inventories, shortening terms on receivables and delaying or moderating plans for expansion or new equipment purchases.
Scientists studying food webs can trace isotopes in bits of tissue -- bear-claw parings, for example -- to answer questions such as where a polar bear fed last winter, where a whale migrated last year, what kind of grass a bison grazed 10,000 years ago and whether phytoplankton supply most of the food in coastal marine food webs.