Main definitions of bone in US English:

: bone1Bône2

bone1

noun

  • 1Any of the pieces of hard whitish tissue making up the skeleton in humans and other vertebrates.

    The substance of bones is formed by specialized cells (osteoblasts) that secrete around themselves a material containing calcium salts (which provide hardness and strength in compression) and collagen fibers (which provide tensile strength). Many bones have a central cavity containing marrow

    ‘his injuries included many broken bones’
    ‘a shoulder bone’
    • ‘Bone marrow is a spongy tissue inside certain bones of the body that produces blood cells.’
    • ‘Xrays easily pick out surgical tools and hard tissues such as bones.’
    • ‘Archaeologists have found the crushed remains of an amphora, a large ceramic jar, containing hundreds of fish bones.’
    • ‘The spinal cord is protected by bones stacked one upon the other.’
    • ‘Years ago we realized that if we combined all our accidents, there was hardly a bone in the human skeleton we hadn't broken.’
    • ‘The spine is made up of many small bones called vertebrae.’
    • ‘Bone marrow is found in soft fatty tissue inside bones, where red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are produced and developed.’
    • ‘These lesions may affect any organ system but most commonly occur in the skin, mucous membranes, and bones.’
    • ‘They tried to give her a bone marrow transplant but her bones rejected every bone tissue that was given to her.’
    • ‘Lifting weights strengthens the muscles, bones and connective tissue.’
    • ‘There are no fish bones in Norse archeological remains, Diamond concludes, for the simple reason that the Norse didn't eat fish.’
    • ‘The fact is, broken bones, or fractures, are common in childhood and often happen when kids are playing or participating in sports.’
    • ‘Your spine is a long column of bones that stretch from the base of your skull to your tailbone.’
    • ‘The ligaments are tissues that connect the bones at the joints.’
    • ‘In addition to the embryos and eye, the fossil find includes portions of a snout plus jawbones, skull bones, cheekbones, and teeth.’
    • ‘In this condition, the spinal cord and the bones of the spinal column may fail to develop normally.’
    • ‘When the eardrum vibrates, tiny bones within the middle ear transmit the sound signals to the inner ear.’
    • ‘Direct injury to the spine may cause a bone fracture anywhere along your vertebral column.’
    • ‘Weightlifting is known to strengthen tissue, including muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons.’
    • ‘It gets even smaller if the bone and tissue around it grow.’
    1. 1.1bones A person's body.
      ‘he hauled his tired bones upright’
      • ‘I dragged my tired bones to the bathroom to shave.’
      • ‘He lowered his aching bones to the floor after a harder day's work than he'd ever done.’
      • ‘Sighing, he pulled his weary bones to their feet and decided coffee was the best option.’
      body, figure, form, shape, physique, build, size, proportions
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2bones A corpse or skeleton.
      ‘the discovery of the bones of Richard III’
      ‘bones of prehistoric mammals’
      • ‘But I'd still like to dig up the bones of the man who condemned it, and bang them together so hard his ghost gets a migraine.’
      • ‘Now, more than ever before, the study of battles will involve a literal trampling upon dead men's bones.’
      • ‘The post excavation procedure included the removal of all mud and adhering material from the bones and placing of the remains in a cabinet where they were allowed to dry out slowly.’
      • ‘In centuries past, graves would be exhumed, and any bones remaining would be collected and buried deeper down, thereby allowing fresh graves on top.’
      • ‘A spirit then gradually materialized from the bones of the long dead corpse.’
      • ‘The prefectural police told reporters the remains contained the bones of two persons.’
      • ‘Rampaging Christian knights and soldiers remove the bones of St John Chrysostom and St Gregory Nazianzen.’
      • ‘A mile to the south, in the glen of the Allt nan Uamh, the bones of prehistoric man were found in a series of caves.’
      • ‘Just ahead, in the wider section of the pass, the dried bones and carcasses of men and pack animals lay strewn about.’
      • ‘We are still unburying the bones, the remains, of the people who got killed.’
      • ‘It includes remains such as Aboriginal bones, regarded as stolen goods by Aborigine communities in Australia today.’
      • ‘Inside, an exhibition of pictures of mutilated corpses and glass cases containing the bones of the victims concludes with a visitors' book.’
      corpse, dead body, body, cadaver, carcass
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A bone of an animal with meat on it, used as food for people or dogs.
      ‘dogs yelping over a bone’
      ‘stewed in stock made with a ham bone’
      • ‘It's easy to fillet and the bones make good stock.’
      • ‘What they actually think happened is that some animal had the bone in his or her burrow and just now decided to toss it.’
      • ‘Beef bones usually cost about $1 per pound and yield a rich stock.’
      • ‘So, I've already had to add more water to re-thin it to properly boil down the bones and meat.’
      • ‘Then she wouldn't be here with this idiot gnawing on chicken bones.’
      • ‘We first put about 5,697 pots of different cereals, lentils, meats, bones and spices on different pots to warm.’
      • ‘With the bones of the pork chops, the shiitake mushrooms, and some left-over chicken stock, I also made a hot & sour soup.’
      • ‘I got him a package of big beef bones as a present, and he's been snacking quite happily on them every afternoon for the past few days.’
      • ‘Remove bones from tray and place in a large - 10 litre - stock pot.’
  • 2The calcified material of which bones consist.

    ‘an earring of bone’
    • ‘The hilt was made of fine bone and ivory, carved into the shape of a dragon.’
    • ‘‘Jacks date back to ancient Rome, when they were carved from ivory or bone,’ she says.’
    • ‘My grandpa used to carry a big folding Stockman knife, with old fashioned bone handles and blades worn thin from sharpening.’
    • ‘Ornaments and utensils in precious metals, bronze, bone and horn had also been uncovered.’
    • ‘The material would be gradually replaced by healthy, newly grown bone and blood vessels.’
    • ‘A cheaper and readily available material which is often passed off as ivory is bone.’
    • ‘Bears resorb their bone material during hibernation, but they constantly form new bone material as well.’
    • ‘Bones are made up of two types of material - compact bone and cancellous bone.’
    • ‘This canoe-style knife measures 3.75 inches long, and has bone handles.’
    • ‘My latest cut-down bone handled table knives have a near quadrant at the tip and cut unbelievably.’
    • ‘Some Yoruba woodcarvers also work in bone, ivory, and stone.’
    • ‘In contrast, fossilized bone is believed to be completely mineralized, meaning no organics are present.’
    • ‘This involves the use of ivory, bone, and pieces of wood to create geometric patterns.’
    • ‘The caves at Creswell Crags are known to have been occupied in palaeolithic times because hunters left behind bone and flint stone tools.’
    • ‘Chinese dominoes are longer than Western ones and are divided into two types and were originally carved from bone or ivory with the indented pips made of ebony.’
    • ‘However, in recent years he has turned his skill and artistry to the crafting of artefacts wrought from ancient native woods, bone, gold, bronze and steel.’
    • ‘The spongy bone material was then used for DNA extraction.’
    • ‘‘You have to be confident to be able to distinguish ivory from bone, and new ivory from old,’ said Mr Judson.’
    • ‘Any suitable material may be used, including quill, parchment, wood, ivory, bone, horn, tortoiseshell, and plastic.’
    • ‘Fine details carved in boxwood, bone, ivory, brass and ebony.’
    1. 2.1 A substance similar to bone such as ivory, dentin, or whalebone.
      • ‘The conservation of bone artefacts mainly concerns objects made of ivory, camel bone, elephant tusks and horn.’
      • ‘Mining activity has been a constant source of bone and ivory artifacts over the last several decades.’
      • ‘What's more, treasured wood was decorated with bone, jade, gold, bronze and shells adding to the value.’
      • ‘A stylish box made from bone and accented in brass – both exotic and elegant.’
      • ‘The earliest example of European poetry about a stranded whale is an Anglo-Saxon inscription on a whale bone casket of about 700 AD.’
    2. 2.2often bones A thing made of, or once made of, such a substance, for example a pair of dice.
      • ‘The quality of the needlework, particularly around the bodice's bone inserts, makes this unlikely.’
      • ‘Farthingales sells corset supplies including bone casing tape for corset bones.’
    3. 2.3 The whitish color of bone.
      ‘the sandals she had dyed bone to match the small purse’
      • ‘The shower is available in white or bone.’
  • 3bonesThe basic or essential framework of something.

    ‘you need to put some flesh on the bones of your idea’
    • ‘As it turned out, it wasn't much, but it was enough to put a few scraps of meat on the bones of my suspicions.’
    • ‘That's the basic bones of the argument, and there's lots of detail in and around it.’
    • ‘It is a basic bare bones work on the battle of Chattanooga.’
    • ‘The bill sets out only the very bare bones of the framework on which the criteria for the process will be hung.’
    • ‘Everything you need to know about who this man is can be summed up by the opening minutes of the interview that put meat on the bones of this article.’
    • ‘Under the new law, the government is given the task of issuing at least 12 regulations to put meat on the bones of the law.’
  • 4vulgar slang A penis.

Main definitions of bone in US English:

: bone1Bône2

Bône2

proper noun

Phrases

  • close to (or near) the bone

    • 1(of a remark) penetrating and accurate to the point of causing hurt or discomfort.

      • ‘The funny thing about that is that the film is about a man who gets into trouble for writing books that cut too close to the bone, other people's bones in this case.’
      • ‘What I like about Bill's take here is its combination of a temperate tone in a discussion that doesn't hesitate to cut close to the bone.’
      • ‘But it is so near the bone that it would make you weep.’
      • ‘I've no doubt it ruffled feathers in Charlestown at the time, it was so close to the bone.’
      • ‘The movie cuts pretty close to the bone with characters who are less than likable and certainly less than redeeming.’
      • ‘As a fundamentalist Bible-believing Christian, I sometimes find your articles a bit close to the bone, but in fairness you reflect accurately the nature of the Internet.’
      • ‘It is a story all too believable, all to real and close to the bone for many living in rural Ireland.’
      • ‘I also saw a satirical film last night - quite close to the bone for the Minister, wasn't it?’
      • ‘This list can go on and on, and hearing these stories cuts rather close to the bone: suffering is everywhere and also infinite in its variety.’
      • ‘This play is so insightful, cuts so close to the bone.’
      • ‘The plot for the movie cut close to the bone of reality.’
      • ‘Again, this is coming pretty close to the bone for me, having once had a double-glazed bedroom window smashed by a rock.’
    • 2Destitute; hard up.

  • cut (or pare) something to the bone

    • Reduce something to the bare minimum.

      ‘costs will have to be cut to the bone’
      • ‘But, with hindsight, we can already see that the company achieved spectacular growth by cutting premiums to the bone, and possibly under-reserving.’
      • ‘However, premiums have been cut to the bone, and life companies are looking to improve their margins and profits.’
      • ‘The concept is simple: cut operating costs to the bone and pass on the savings to customers.’
      • ‘Exploration budgets were cut to the bone during the quiet years, and it takes upwards of seven years to bring a known deposit to production.’
      • ‘So there is a war on, with each side cutting prices to the bone.’
      • ‘All have cut their costs to the bone and many have diversified their businesses.’
      • ‘Transport manifesto commitments have been pared to the bone.’
      • ‘The only way to make it viable was to cut it to the bone.’
      • ‘By paring components to the bone, Martin showed that even the smallest urban space can be a haven of tranquillity.’
      • ‘Corporate planning, accounting, research, and technical staffs are cut to the bone, if not disbanded at corporate level.’
      • ‘Health, education and welfare services have been cut to the bone to pay for the war and for huge financial incentives to investors.’
      • ‘Many firms are unable to think beyond cutting costs to the bone.’
      • ‘As usual, we had cut our military to the bone and had a standing army of less than 200,000.’
      • ‘We just managed to pay our way this year by cutting costs to the bone, but we will be in the red this year unless we do something about it.’
      • ‘Add to that the fact that labor has been cut to the bone.’
      • ‘On top of this long-term drop, consumers indulged themselves in the occasional periods in which prices were cut to the bone to drive competitors out of business.’
      • ‘To prevent the crash he cut rates to the bone and allowed consumers to fill the gap left by the collapse in manufacturing in the US.’
      • ‘Most have cut their expenses to the bone and the consumers are not prepared to pass on the price increases.’
      • ‘Education, training, and rehabilitation programs have been cut to the bone.’
      • ‘They want to cut the service to the bone and cut the best fire service in the world.’
  • have a bone to pick with someone

    • informal Have reason to disagree or be annoyed with someone.

      • ‘What I'm getting at is that you seem have a bone to pick with me of late, and we should thrash it out before it becomes a problem.’
      • ‘Someone could have a bone to pick with you soon, and they'll lay it on thick as sauce.’
      • ‘Perhaps I have always had a bone to pick with her because I believe that she stole my thunder.’
      • ‘‘You know, I actually have a bone to pick with you about that,’ she said between bites.’
      • ‘I remembered something, ‘Drew, I have a bone to pick with you.’’
      • ‘Just make the horse move so much or else somebody is gonna have a bone to pick with you,’ I said.’
      • ‘‘I have a bone to pick with you,’ I suddenly remembered, hitting him in the chest lightly, and totally ignoring his request.’
      • ‘Looking at his father, Daniel recalled that he had a bone to pick with him.’
      • ‘It's not like she's had a bone to pick with her lately.’
      • ‘Don Pedro tells Benedick that Beatrice has a bone to pick with him.’
      • ‘I don't have a bone to pick with them and vice versa.’
      • ‘I had a bone to pick with him during his comments, because he seemed to imply that a golf course was something great for the environment.’
      • ‘And he said he's all ready for the interview, and I said to him, I have a bone to pick with you first.’
      • ‘She didn't even have anything against those other guys, but she did have a bone to pick with Heero Yuy.’
      • ‘I don't have any complaints on the movie, but I do have a bone to pick with the film studio.’
      • ‘The other passenger in the car, Lenny, has a bone to pick with Vince, because the latter got his daughter pregnant years before.’
      • ‘He could be gruff and if he had a bone to pick with you, he picked it.’
      • ‘Father came into the kitchen, looking like he had a bone to pick with me, then skidded to a halt.’
  • in one's bones

    • Felt, believed, or known deeply or instinctively.

      ‘something good was bound to happen; he could feel it in his bones’
      ‘he has rhythm in his bones’
      • ‘But they know, in their bones so to speak, that there are no more Saladin-like saviors out there.’
      • ‘In the end, they will have to feel it in their bones and smell it in the air, finding the words that ring true.’
      • ‘It's not something medical… I can just feel it in my bones, just instinct.’
      • ‘I said I felt in my bones that it would be different than after previous European trips.’
      • ‘The magic is certainly there - you can feel it in your bones.’
      • ‘Surely, when it is over you know it in your bones, and why would a manager have reason to thank you?’
      • ‘I always thought this war was a bad idea, right from the start I felt it deep in my bones.’
      • ‘You know how you get a feeling in your bones that everything's coming up roses?’
      • ‘Deep in their bones and their hearts, they expect to win, an assumption borne of talent, experience, and mental toughness.’
      • ‘Wood can no longer see him - but as an insurance man you cannot help but believe he felt the risk in his bones.’
      • ‘The Albanian people who make up a good part of our parish understood this in their bones; many of the Americans seemed not to.’
      • ‘You either feel it in your heart, in your bones, in your gut, or you don't.’
      • ‘You know, in your bones, that this is what you're supposed to be doing.’
      • ‘We believe in our bones that what we are doing is the right thing.’
      • ‘I could feel it in my bones that he was up against something stronger than his will and his prodigious intellect.’
      • ‘Russell said that he couldn't quite understand what Wittgenstein was saying, but he felt in his bones that he must be right.’
      • ‘If there's one thing about Native people, one thing we've always had in our bones,’ she says, ‘it's community.’’
      • ‘Tocqueville understood this milieu in his bones.’
      • ‘Park status confirms what the locals already felt in their bones, that their home and environs are special places, worth getting excited about.’
      • ‘If we care deeply enough, if we feel it in our bones, then we won't take this sitting down.’
  • make no bones about something

    • Have no hesitation in stating or dealing with something, however awkward or distasteful it is.

      ‘the film is an op-ed piece, and the director makes no bones about its biases’
      • ‘Well, we do pay for exclusive information and documents, and we make no bones about that, as long as we can verify it's true.’
      • ‘White made no bones about how they would seek to beat the Welsh yesterday.’
      • ‘So the making of this documentary was clearly a journey of discovery for Moore himself, who makes no bones about not having the answers.’
      • ‘And his wife made no bones about why she ran off to France with their son, Eddie.’
      • ‘She is proud of her unusual occupation and appears to make no bones about who knows it.’
      • ‘I feel we have some good referees and I make no bones about that but I'm not so sure we have that many good assistant referees.’
      • ‘My parents were wonderful parents to me - make no bones about that - but I have no truck with the idea that in some sense society was better 40 or 50 years ago.’
      • ‘A strange chemistry forms when the pair meets at the interview and Grey makes no bones about how boring the job will be.’
      • ‘Westwood has made no bones about how unprepared he was for the media attention which accompanied his early success.’
      • ‘R.L. Trask makes no bones about what sort of world he thinks is beautiful, and to that sort of world he's a splendidly knowledgeable, thought-provoking guide.’
      • ‘The performance was disappointing, make no bones about that, and the 50-30 scoreline reflected Barrow's superiority on the day.’
      • ‘Definitely not for the squeamish, the article makes no bones about where the responsibility for the massacre lay.’
      • ‘‘She makes no bones about not liking journalists,’ says one.’
      • ‘The solicitor told the court: ‘Her behaviour was dreadful and she makes no bones about that.’’
      • ‘Labour is pragmatic in what it does, it makes no bones about that sometimes it will lean left sometimes right.’
      • ‘For starters, I liked April Fool's Day because the film makes no bones about what it is.’
      • ‘He makes no bones about what others perceive as his abrasive manner.’
      • ‘‘We knew that there would be tickets available every day and we made no bones about that,’ he said.’
      • ‘And I make no bones about that or no apology for that.’
      • ‘Here is a movie that makes no bones about what it is - a horror sequel that knows its place in line.’
  • to the bone

    • 1(of a wound) so deep as to expose a person's bone.

      ‘his thigh had been axed open to the bone’
      figurative ‘his contempt cut her to the bone’
      • ‘It was a deep wound, not quite to the bone but not just skin either.’
      • ‘He also inflicted deep cuts to his face, on one occasion scoring the bridge of his nose so severely that he cut it down to the bone.’
      • ‘It caught Maiden square beneath the jaw, cutting to the bone.’
      • ‘I walked back to my house and my arm was open down to the bone.’
      • ‘An accidental challenge by the Newcastle defender slit his knee open to the bone, necessitated 38 stitches and forced him to the sidelines for two months.’
      • ‘But his wit is more likely to scratch than cut to the bone.’
      • ‘She did not wince as blades sunk deeper to the bone.’
      • ‘And it cuts us to the bone when people dismiss our musings as the products of ego and petty hatreds.’
      • ‘This time the ankle was cut through to the bone and Scales had to have internal and external stitches inserted to repair the damage.’
      • ‘One of the operations was to repair his left hand and stitch up stab wounds, which cut through to the bone.’
      • ‘A teenager who cut a former friend's arm to the bone with an axe during a street fight was warned he faces being locked up.’
      • ‘They can be superficial or very deep, extending to the bone.’
      • ‘His shoulder is cut to the bone, and he is flung to the wall.’
      • ‘Albion's shoulder was cut to the bone, but besides a few bruises and scratches, the trio was unhurt.’
      • ‘She ran into a fence and the sharp wire cut to the bone.’
      • ‘Jessie felt drained, the bickering with Phoebe had cut her to the bone.’
      • ‘No, it's too steep for me, especially after Clarence had his leg cut to the bone in a rock slide.’
      • ‘After breakfast I would go to the house matron who would paint ghastly looking stuff on my chilblains which were open almost to the bone.’
      • ‘The wound went straight to the bone; she could see a sliver of white among the blood whenever she painfully flexed her fingers.’
      • ‘David Sanborn's alto saxophone caresses the flesh as it cuts to the bone.’
      1. 1.1(especially of cold) affecting a person in a penetrating way.
        ‘chilled to the bone’
        • ‘The room seemed to have lost all its warmth and the torch's fire seemed to be diffusing only cold, chilling to the bone.’
        • ‘Neko woke up, freezing cold, soaked to the bone with sweat.’
        • ‘She noticed people running from the other end of the school, they were soaking wet, deep down to the bone.’
        • ‘The blue-green sky of Pomen was partly cloudy, and although the afternoon sun tried to warm the proceedings below, it was a cold day that chilled to the bone.’
        • ‘Her entire body was stiff and sore, and she was cold to the bone.’
    • 2Used to emphasize that a person has a specified quality in an overwhelming or fundamental way.

      ‘she's a New Englander to her bones’
      ‘he's a cop to the bone’
      • ‘Jeremiah was a patriot down to his bones and wrote an entire book lamenting the fall of his nation.’
      • ‘A civil servant to his bones, he is also diplomatic because he thinks the fight against climate change needs long-term support from all sides of politics.’
      • ‘She was from an upper-class background and although she was a shrewd political player, Mrs. Randolph was also a Southern lady to her bones.’
      • ‘But, anyone who thinks that careerist social climbers aren't liberals to their bones just doesn't know what he's talking about.’
      • ‘Although he is a Democrat to his bones, he has disarmed Republicans.’
      • ‘He knew that she was Indian to her bones, and he knew that even after her death her soul would linger, waiting for a glimpse of her son.’
      • ‘Shaunelle Curry is a teacher through to her bones.’
      • ‘A salesman down to his bones, he took to selling stock, especially penny stocks.’
      • ‘Rhenisch, a poet to his bones, is a new world essayist with an old world sensibility.’
      • ‘He would not, however, feel any divided loyalties were his team to come up against Italy in the knock-out stages of the finals in Greece: ‘I am Australian to my bones.’’
  • have not a — bone in one's body

    • (of a person) have not the slightest trace of the specified quality.

      ‘there's not a conservative bone in his body’
      • ‘Darren is not a racist - he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.’
      • ‘Charlotte claims Katie was never interested in either her or her siblings and the mother-of-two ‘doesn't have a maternal bone in her body’.’
      • ‘I just do want to stress that we didn't have a political bone in our body.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter if you haven't got an artistic bone in your body, we can show you very simple ways to achieve a masterpiece!’
      • ‘I know that he doesn't have a judgemental bone in his body.’
  • throw a bone to

    • Give someone only a token concession.

      ‘was the true purpose of the minimum wage hike to throw a bone to the unions?’
      • ‘The company has decided to throw viewers a few bones by tacking on a couple of extra features to this disc.’
      • ‘The new regime has thrown him a bone of sorts: convenorship of the health committee.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's nice when life throws you a bone.’
      • ‘I bet this was already obsolete in design and technology some years back, and they wanted to throw a bone to the public.’
      • ‘Finally, Lady Luck threw him a bone.’
      • ‘Why not target middle incomes and throw a bone to low incomes with an occasional promotion?’
      • ‘What you see here is a case where the campaign felt they could throw a bone to the conservatives.’
      • ‘And I believe that his policies sometimes reflect a political need to throw a bone to that constituency to keep them happy.’
      • ‘I would like to point out, if you read the next paragraph in the judge's finding, he seemed to throw a bone to each side.’
      • ‘So I still think it's worthwhile to throw a bone to the staid investment class.’
  • work one's fingers to the bone

    • Work very hard.

      ‘Tracy can work her fingers to the bone, but it's Ms. Green who gets the thanks’
      • ‘We are working our fingers to the bone to try and rescue our comrades, but at the moment we have yet to locate where their screams were coming from.’
      • ‘There are people working their fingers to the bone every day for less than this proposed salary.’
      • ‘The man she had hated so was the man she worked her fingers to the bone to save.’
      • ‘It was just the 5th movement that had lately been keeping her up all night, working her fingers to the bone.’
      • ‘His mom, who is kind and good and true, works her fingers to the bone, running the inn.’
      • ‘I've worked my fingers to the bone, cleaning, organizing and even releasing to the trash bin things I no longer need.’
      • ‘I work my fingers to the bone, and get precious little gratitude for it, and all you can do is treat me like some glorified gofer who's wet behind the ears?’
      • ‘She makes her grandson Shiro work his fingers to the bone to keep this place in top shape, and then tricks the neighborhood kids into doing the rest.’
      • ‘‘We lived in a tiny little flat, and had no money, and my mother had to work her fingers to the bone,’ Carol says.’
      • ‘In India, some kids are forced to toil in cotton fields while others work their fingers to the bone weaving silk.’
      work hard, labour, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a trojan, work like a dog, work day and night, exert oneself, keep at it, keep one's nose to the grindstone, grind away, slave away, grub away, plough away, plod away
      View synonyms
  • a bone of contention

    • A subject or issue over which there is continuing disagreement.

      ‘the examination system has long been a serious bone of contention’
      • ‘Since its completion, the new pier has been a bone of contention with tour boat operators over the issue of safety in mooring their boats.’
      • ‘The issue has become a serious bone of contention between the union and the management.’
      • ‘Footwear, even for the five-year-olds, can be a serious bone of contention within families at this time of year.’
      • ‘The community group said although they are no strangers to the struggle for technology, equality remains a major bone of contention.’
      • ‘Race relations in the USA continue to be a hot topic and a bone of contention for many American writers.’
      • ‘School prizes have always been bones of contention.’
      • ‘This was a bone of contention with residents and business owners.’
      • ‘Bank charges are a continual bone of contention between bankers and depositors.’
      • ‘The city's educational system continues to be a bone of contention for Burns and other residents.’
      • ‘Sometime ago, the first point was a serious bone of contention with some opponents of Australian government policy on East Timor.’
      • ‘Bonus payments have a nasty habit of being bones of contention in the football domain.’
      • ‘This has been a bone of contention for many years and I am sure it will continue to be so for many more.’
      • ‘However, the latter is the main bone of contention in this argument.’
      • ‘The issue has been a bone of contention for several years between Mid West farmers and State Government authorities.’
      • ‘Their two Schnauzers were the original bones of contention.’
      • ‘Road safety and pollution issues were the main bones of contention, with frequent tailbacks of lorries billowing fumes into people's homes, he said.’
      • ‘This matter has always been a bone of contention with councillors but on this occasion no one objected to the proposal by council management.’
      • ‘In the last century the same conflicts led to the First World War and continued to be a bone of contention throughout the Second.’
      • ‘The zebra crossing outside the library in Pickwick Road, Corsham, has been a serious bone of contention among residents for a number of years.’
      • ‘Control of the few viable roads is another bone of contention among various warlords who exercise their authority by blocking delivery of aid items.’
      matter, matter in question, affair, business, subject, topic, question, point, point at issue, item, thing, case, concern, theme
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English bān, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch been and German Bein.

Pronunciation

Bône

/bōn//boʊn/

verb

  • 1with object Remove the bones from (meat or fish)

    ‘while the gumbo is simmering, bone the cooked chicken’
    • ‘Head butcher Paul Nicholson helped to choose the birds and bone the smaller ones before they could be stuffed inside the turkey.’
    • ‘In recent years, although the name has almost disappeared, many butcher shops and supermarkets still sell boned shoulders of lamb complete with stuffing.’
    • ‘It is then boned and the meat is allowed to ‘age’ or mature for up to 14 days.’’
    • ‘All biologists should eat kippers because it is quite impossible to bone one without thinking about development.’
    • ‘The school's culinary dean recalls being hung from a meat hook for improperly boning veal during one of his 14-hour days as an apprentice in 1949 Germany.’
    • ‘Clean and bone the fish, leaving their heads in place.’
    • ‘Have the turkey thighs boned and skinned at the meat market.’
    • ‘Unless you are a dab-hand with the boning knife, ask the butcher to bone the chicken legs for you.’
  • 2bone up oninformal no object Study (a subject) intensively, typically in preparation for something.

    ‘she boned up on languages she had learned long ago and went back to New Guinea’
    • ‘Anyone who thinks these people play anything remotely original needs to bone up on their musicology.’
    • ‘She's probably already boning up on the biography of Nelson Mandela.’
    • ‘So I'm finally doing some actual academic reading for my ‘Reading Elective,’ trying to bone up on some anesthesia basics before I switch residencies in July.’
    • ‘So where - and how - are young voters boning up on issues and ideas?’
    • ‘Some of them may have put more effort into interpersonal skills than the graduate who has been boning up on portfolio optimisation and office politics.’
    • ‘She turned her love of the jungle into yet another career, by boning up on African bird life in order to take visitors on horseback birding safaris.’
    • ‘There's nothing like a stroll immediately before an interview for a spot of last minute boning up on your subject.’
    • ‘Each actor studied their real-life counterpart, boning up on their life stories to get a keener, truer sense of how they would have behaved and talked.’
    • ‘I've noticed that a lot of the nicer websites are incorporating cascading style sheets so I've spent the past couple of days boning up on how to use them.’
    • ‘I have many things to do, including boning up on current events - I'm auditioning for a spot on a quiz show tomorrow, and I don't want to make a fool of myself.’
    • ‘Those firms which bone up on the latest thinking will reap the benefits.’
    • ‘Unless you're willing to bone up on the subject, you're better off to assess his technical ability by asking for references and checking them out.’
    • ‘I've allowed myself to get lazy about following what's going on nationally and I've got to bone up on a lot of stuff.’
    • ‘And it's just as well that she had boned up on Treasure Island - the only book she appears to have read - as it seems to have impressed the judges.’
    • ‘This stuff was actually quite easy after I boned up on my HTML.’
    • ‘In preparation, I began to bone up on my cooking skills, already a hobby of mine, and pored over What to Expect When You're Expecting.’
    • ‘Anyway, I've boned up on it overnight, and I'm sad to report that the NT's proposed laws are a bit of a disappointment.’
    • ‘Now in order to do my job properly, I had to bone up on what was required when giving a professional opinion about a document.’
    • ‘So if you are wondering about what to bone up on if you want to be a security screener don't ask me.’
    • ‘To bone up on the subject, he read the works of a professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose area of research was deceptive political advertising.’
    go over, reread, run through, study, memorize
    View synonyms
  • 3US vulgar slang with object (of a man) have sexual intercourse with (someone).

Phrases

  • close to (or near) the bone

    • 1(of a remark) penetrating and accurate to the point of causing hurt or discomfort.

      • ‘The funny thing about that is that the film is about a man who gets into trouble for writing books that cut too close to the bone, other people's bones in this case.’
      • ‘What I like about Bill's take here is its combination of a temperate tone in a discussion that doesn't hesitate to cut close to the bone.’
      • ‘But it is so near the bone that it would make you weep.’
      • ‘I've no doubt it ruffled feathers in Charlestown at the time, it was so close to the bone.’
      • ‘The movie cuts pretty close to the bone with characters who are less than likable and certainly less than redeeming.’
      • ‘As a fundamentalist Bible-believing Christian, I sometimes find your articles a bit close to the bone, but in fairness you reflect accurately the nature of the Internet.’
      • ‘It is a story all too believable, all to real and close to the bone for many living in rural Ireland.’
      • ‘I also saw a satirical film last night - quite close to the bone for the Minister, wasn't it?’
      • ‘This list can go on and on, and hearing these stories cuts rather close to the bone: suffering is everywhere and also infinite in its variety.’
      • ‘This play is so insightful, cuts so close to the bone.’
      • ‘The plot for the movie cut close to the bone of reality.’
      • ‘Again, this is coming pretty close to the bone for me, having once had a double-glazed bedroom window smashed by a rock.’
    • 2Destitute; hard up.

  • cut (or pare) something to the bone

    • Reduce something to the bare minimum.

      ‘costs will have to be cut to the bone’
      • ‘But, with hindsight, we can already see that the company achieved spectacular growth by cutting premiums to the bone, and possibly under-reserving.’
      • ‘However, premiums have been cut to the bone, and life companies are looking to improve their margins and profits.’
      • ‘The concept is simple: cut operating costs to the bone and pass on the savings to customers.’
      • ‘Exploration budgets were cut to the bone during the quiet years, and it takes upwards of seven years to bring a known deposit to production.’
      • ‘So there is a war on, with each side cutting prices to the bone.’
      • ‘All have cut their costs to the bone and many have diversified their businesses.’
      • ‘Transport manifesto commitments have been pared to the bone.’
      • ‘The only way to make it viable was to cut it to the bone.’
      • ‘By paring components to the bone, Martin showed that even the smallest urban space can be a haven of tranquillity.’
      • ‘Corporate planning, accounting, research, and technical staffs are cut to the bone, if not disbanded at corporate level.’
      • ‘Health, education and welfare services have been cut to the bone to pay for the war and for huge financial incentives to investors.’
      • ‘Many firms are unable to think beyond cutting costs to the bone.’
      • ‘As usual, we had cut our military to the bone and had a standing army of less than 200,000.’
      • ‘We just managed to pay our way this year by cutting costs to the bone, but we will be in the red this year unless we do something about it.’
      • ‘Add to that the fact that labor has been cut to the bone.’
      • ‘On top of this long-term drop, consumers indulged themselves in the occasional periods in which prices were cut to the bone to drive competitors out of business.’
      • ‘To prevent the crash he cut rates to the bone and allowed consumers to fill the gap left by the collapse in manufacturing in the US.’
      • ‘Most have cut their expenses to the bone and the consumers are not prepared to pass on the price increases.’
      • ‘Education, training, and rehabilitation programs have been cut to the bone.’
      • ‘They want to cut the service to the bone and cut the best fire service in the world.’
  • have a bone to pick with someone

    • informal Have reason to disagree or be annoyed with someone.

      • ‘What I'm getting at is that you seem have a bone to pick with me of late, and we should thrash it out before it becomes a problem.’
      • ‘Someone could have a bone to pick with you soon, and they'll lay it on thick as sauce.’
      • ‘Perhaps I have always had a bone to pick with her because I believe that she stole my thunder.’
      • ‘‘You know, I actually have a bone to pick with you about that,’ she said between bites.’
      • ‘I remembered something, ‘Drew, I have a bone to pick with you.’’
      • ‘Just make the horse move so much or else somebody is gonna have a bone to pick with you,’ I said.’
      • ‘‘I have a bone to pick with you,’ I suddenly remembered, hitting him in the chest lightly, and totally ignoring his request.’
      • ‘Looking at his father, Daniel recalled that he had a bone to pick with him.’
      • ‘It's not like she's had a bone to pick with her lately.’
      • ‘Don Pedro tells Benedick that Beatrice has a bone to pick with him.’
      • ‘I don't have a bone to pick with them and vice versa.’
      • ‘I had a bone to pick with him during his comments, because he seemed to imply that a golf course was something great for the environment.’
      • ‘And he said he's all ready for the interview, and I said to him, I have a bone to pick with you first.’
      • ‘She didn't even have anything against those other guys, but she did have a bone to pick with Heero Yuy.’
      • ‘I don't have any complaints on the movie, but I do have a bone to pick with the film studio.’
      • ‘The other passenger in the car, Lenny, has a bone to pick with Vince, because the latter got his daughter pregnant years before.’
      • ‘He could be gruff and if he had a bone to pick with you, he picked it.’
      • ‘Father came into the kitchen, looking like he had a bone to pick with me, then skidded to a halt.’
  • in one's bones

    • Felt, believed, or known deeply or instinctively.

      ‘something good was bound to happen; he could feel it in his bones’
      ‘he has rhythm in his bones’
      • ‘But they know, in their bones so to speak, that there are no more Saladin-like saviors out there.’
      • ‘In the end, they will have to feel it in their bones and smell it in the air, finding the words that ring true.’
      • ‘It's not something medical… I can just feel it in my bones, just instinct.’
      • ‘I said I felt in my bones that it would be different than after previous European trips.’
      • ‘The magic is certainly there - you can feel it in your bones.’
      • ‘Surely, when it is over you know it in your bones, and why would a manager have reason to thank you?’
      • ‘I always thought this war was a bad idea, right from the start I felt it deep in my bones.’
      • ‘You know how you get a feeling in your bones that everything's coming up roses?’
      • ‘Deep in their bones and their hearts, they expect to win, an assumption borne of talent, experience, and mental toughness.’
      • ‘Wood can no longer see him - but as an insurance man you cannot help but believe he felt the risk in his bones.’
      • ‘The Albanian people who make up a good part of our parish understood this in their bones; many of the Americans seemed not to.’
      • ‘You either feel it in your heart, in your bones, in your gut, or you don't.’
      • ‘You know, in your bones, that this is what you're supposed to be doing.’
      • ‘We believe in our bones that what we are doing is the right thing.’
      • ‘I could feel it in my bones that he was up against something stronger than his will and his prodigious intellect.’
      • ‘Russell said that he couldn't quite understand what Wittgenstein was saying, but he felt in his bones that he must be right.’
      • ‘If there's one thing about Native people, one thing we've always had in our bones,’ she says, ‘it's community.’’
      • ‘Tocqueville understood this milieu in his bones.’
      • ‘Park status confirms what the locals already felt in their bones, that their home and environs are special places, worth getting excited about.’
      • ‘If we care deeply enough, if we feel it in our bones, then we won't take this sitting down.’
  • make no bones about something

    • Have no hesitation in stating or dealing with something, however awkward or distasteful it is.

      ‘the film is an op-ed piece, and the director makes no bones about its biases’
      • ‘Well, we do pay for exclusive information and documents, and we make no bones about that, as long as we can verify it's true.’
      • ‘White made no bones about how they would seek to beat the Welsh yesterday.’
      • ‘So the making of this documentary was clearly a journey of discovery for Moore himself, who makes no bones about not having the answers.’
      • ‘And his wife made no bones about why she ran off to France with their son, Eddie.’
      • ‘She is proud of her unusual occupation and appears to make no bones about who knows it.’
      • ‘I feel we have some good referees and I make no bones about that but I'm not so sure we have that many good assistant referees.’
      • ‘My parents were wonderful parents to me - make no bones about that - but I have no truck with the idea that in some sense society was better 40 or 50 years ago.’
      • ‘A strange chemistry forms when the pair meets at the interview and Grey makes no bones about how boring the job will be.’
      • ‘Westwood has made no bones about how unprepared he was for the media attention which accompanied his early success.’
      • ‘R.L. Trask makes no bones about what sort of world he thinks is beautiful, and to that sort of world he's a splendidly knowledgeable, thought-provoking guide.’
      • ‘The performance was disappointing, make no bones about that, and the 50-30 scoreline reflected Barrow's superiority on the day.’
      • ‘Definitely not for the squeamish, the article makes no bones about where the responsibility for the massacre lay.’
      • ‘‘She makes no bones about not liking journalists,’ says one.’
      • ‘The solicitor told the court: ‘Her behaviour was dreadful and she makes no bones about that.’’
      • ‘Labour is pragmatic in what it does, it makes no bones about that sometimes it will lean left sometimes right.’
      • ‘For starters, I liked April Fool's Day because the film makes no bones about what it is.’
      • ‘He makes no bones about what others perceive as his abrasive manner.’
      • ‘‘We knew that there would be tickets available every day and we made no bones about that,’ he said.’
      • ‘And I make no bones about that or no apology for that.’
      • ‘Here is a movie that makes no bones about what it is - a horror sequel that knows its place in line.’
  • to the bone

    • 1(of a wound) so deep as to expose a person's bone.

      ‘his thigh had been axed open to the bone’
      figurative ‘his contempt cut her to the bone’
      • ‘It was a deep wound, not quite to the bone but not just skin either.’
      • ‘He also inflicted deep cuts to his face, on one occasion scoring the bridge of his nose so severely that he cut it down to the bone.’
      • ‘It caught Maiden square beneath the jaw, cutting to the bone.’
      • ‘I walked back to my house and my arm was open down to the bone.’
      • ‘An accidental challenge by the Newcastle defender slit his knee open to the bone, necessitated 38 stitches and forced him to the sidelines for two months.’
      • ‘But his wit is more likely to scratch than cut to the bone.’
      • ‘She did not wince as blades sunk deeper to the bone.’
      • ‘And it cuts us to the bone when people dismiss our musings as the products of ego and petty hatreds.’
      • ‘This time the ankle was cut through to the bone and Scales had to have internal and external stitches inserted to repair the damage.’
      • ‘One of the operations was to repair his left hand and stitch up stab wounds, which cut through to the bone.’
      • ‘A teenager who cut a former friend's arm to the bone with an axe during a street fight was warned he faces being locked up.’
      • ‘They can be superficial or very deep, extending to the bone.’
      • ‘His shoulder is cut to the bone, and he is flung to the wall.’
      • ‘Albion's shoulder was cut to the bone, but besides a few bruises and scratches, the trio was unhurt.’
      • ‘She ran into a fence and the sharp wire cut to the bone.’
      • ‘Jessie felt drained, the bickering with Phoebe had cut her to the bone.’
      • ‘No, it's too steep for me, especially after Clarence had his leg cut to the bone in a rock slide.’
      • ‘After breakfast I would go to the house matron who would paint ghastly looking stuff on my chilblains which were open almost to the bone.’
      • ‘The wound went straight to the bone; she could see a sliver of white among the blood whenever she painfully flexed her fingers.’
      • ‘David Sanborn's alto saxophone caresses the flesh as it cuts to the bone.’
      1. 1.1(especially of cold) affecting a person in a penetrating way.
        ‘chilled to the bone’
        • ‘The room seemed to have lost all its warmth and the torch's fire seemed to be diffusing only cold, chilling to the bone.’
        • ‘Neko woke up, freezing cold, soaked to the bone with sweat.’
        • ‘She noticed people running from the other end of the school, they were soaking wet, deep down to the bone.’
        • ‘The blue-green sky of Pomen was partly cloudy, and although the afternoon sun tried to warm the proceedings below, it was a cold day that chilled to the bone.’
        • ‘Her entire body was stiff and sore, and she was cold to the bone.’
    • 2Used to emphasize that a person has a specified quality in an overwhelming or fundamental way.

      ‘she's a New Englander to her bones’
      ‘he's a cop to the bone’
      • ‘Jeremiah was a patriot down to his bones and wrote an entire book lamenting the fall of his nation.’
      • ‘A civil servant to his bones, he is also diplomatic because he thinks the fight against climate change needs long-term support from all sides of politics.’
      • ‘She was from an upper-class background and although she was a shrewd political player, Mrs. Randolph was also a Southern lady to her bones.’
      • ‘But, anyone who thinks that careerist social climbers aren't liberals to their bones just doesn't know what he's talking about.’
      • ‘Although he is a Democrat to his bones, he has disarmed Republicans.’
      • ‘He knew that she was Indian to her bones, and he knew that even after her death her soul would linger, waiting for a glimpse of her son.’
      • ‘Shaunelle Curry is a teacher through to her bones.’
      • ‘A salesman down to his bones, he took to selling stock, especially penny stocks.’
      • ‘Rhenisch, a poet to his bones, is a new world essayist with an old world sensibility.’
      • ‘He would not, however, feel any divided loyalties were his team to come up against Italy in the knock-out stages of the finals in Greece: ‘I am Australian to my bones.’’
  • have not a — bone in one's body

    • (of a person) have not the slightest trace of the specified quality.

      ‘there's not a conservative bone in his body’
      • ‘Darren is not a racist - he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.’
      • ‘Charlotte claims Katie was never interested in either her or her siblings and the mother-of-two ‘doesn't have a maternal bone in her body’.’
      • ‘I just do want to stress that we didn't have a political bone in our body.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter if you haven't got an artistic bone in your body, we can show you very simple ways to achieve a masterpiece!’
      • ‘I know that he doesn't have a judgemental bone in his body.’
  • throw a bone to

    • Give someone only a token concession.

      ‘was the true purpose of the minimum wage hike to throw a bone to the unions?’
      • ‘The company has decided to throw viewers a few bones by tacking on a couple of extra features to this disc.’
      • ‘The new regime has thrown him a bone of sorts: convenorship of the health committee.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's nice when life throws you a bone.’
      • ‘I bet this was already obsolete in design and technology some years back, and they wanted to throw a bone to the public.’
      • ‘Finally, Lady Luck threw him a bone.’
      • ‘Why not target middle incomes and throw a bone to low incomes with an occasional promotion?’
      • ‘What you see here is a case where the campaign felt they could throw a bone to the conservatives.’
      • ‘And I believe that his policies sometimes reflect a political need to throw a bone to that constituency to keep them happy.’
      • ‘I would like to point out, if you read the next paragraph in the judge's finding, he seemed to throw a bone to each side.’
      • ‘So I still think it's worthwhile to throw a bone to the staid investment class.’
  • work one's fingers to the bone

    • Work very hard.

      ‘Tracy can work her fingers to the bone, but it's Ms. Green who gets the thanks’
      • ‘We are working our fingers to the bone to try and rescue our comrades, but at the moment we have yet to locate where their screams were coming from.’
      • ‘There are people working their fingers to the bone every day for less than this proposed salary.’
      • ‘The man she had hated so was the man she worked her fingers to the bone to save.’
      • ‘It was just the 5th movement that had lately been keeping her up all night, working her fingers to the bone.’
      • ‘His mom, who is kind and good and true, works her fingers to the bone, running the inn.’
      • ‘I've worked my fingers to the bone, cleaning, organizing and even releasing to the trash bin things I no longer need.’
      • ‘I work my fingers to the bone, and get precious little gratitude for it, and all you can do is treat me like some glorified gofer who's wet behind the ears?’
      • ‘She makes her grandson Shiro work his fingers to the bone to keep this place in top shape, and then tricks the neighborhood kids into doing the rest.’
      • ‘‘We lived in a tiny little flat, and had no money, and my mother had to work her fingers to the bone,’ Carol says.’
      • ‘In India, some kids are forced to toil in cotton fields while others work their fingers to the bone weaving silk.’
      work hard, labour, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a trojan, work like a dog, work day and night, exert oneself, keep at it, keep one's nose to the grindstone, grind away, slave away, grub away, plough away, plod away
      View synonyms
  • a bone of contention

    • A subject or issue over which there is continuing disagreement.

      ‘the examination system has long been a serious bone of contention’
      • ‘Since its completion, the new pier has been a bone of contention with tour boat operators over the issue of safety in mooring their boats.’
      • ‘The issue has become a serious bone of contention between the union and the management.’
      • ‘Footwear, even for the five-year-olds, can be a serious bone of contention within families at this time of year.’
      • ‘The community group said although they are no strangers to the struggle for technology, equality remains a major bone of contention.’
      • ‘Race relations in the USA continue to be a hot topic and a bone of contention for many American writers.’
      • ‘School prizes have always been bones of contention.’
      • ‘This was a bone of contention with residents and business owners.’
      • ‘Bank charges are a continual bone of contention between bankers and depositors.’
      • ‘The city's educational system continues to be a bone of contention for Burns and other residents.’
      • ‘Sometime ago, the first point was a serious bone of contention with some opponents of Australian government policy on East Timor.’
      • ‘Bonus payments have a nasty habit of being bones of contention in the football domain.’
      • ‘This has been a bone of contention for many years and I am sure it will continue to be so for many more.’
      • ‘However, the latter is the main bone of contention in this argument.’
      • ‘The issue has been a bone of contention for several years between Mid West farmers and State Government authorities.’
      • ‘Their two Schnauzers were the original bones of contention.’
      • ‘Road safety and pollution issues were the main bones of contention, with frequent tailbacks of lorries billowing fumes into people's homes, he said.’
      • ‘This matter has always been a bone of contention with councillors but on this occasion no one objected to the proposal by council management.’
      • ‘In the last century the same conflicts led to the First World War and continued to be a bone of contention throughout the Second.’
      • ‘The zebra crossing outside the library in Pickwick Road, Corsham, has been a serious bone of contention among residents for a number of years.’
      • ‘Control of the few viable roads is another bone of contention among various warlords who exercise their authority by blocking delivery of aid items.’
      matter, matter in question, affair, business, subject, topic, question, point, point at issue, item, thing, case, concern, theme
      View synonyms