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.


Nearby words

  1. cut teeth,
  2. cut the comedy,
  3. cut the gordian knot,
  4. cut the ground from under,
  5. cut the mustard,
  6. cut to the chase,
  7. cut to the quick,
  8. cut up,
  9. cut velvet,
  10. cut-and-cover

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.