Definition of to the bone in US English:

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’
    • ‘I walked back to my house and my arm was open down to the bone.’
    • ‘Albion's shoulder was cut to the bone, but besides a few bruises and scratches, the trio was unhurt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This time the ankle was cut through to the bone and Scales had to have internal and external stitches inserted to repair the damage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His shoulder is cut to the bone, and he is flung to the wall.’
    • ‘And it cuts us to the bone when people dismiss our musings as the products of ego and petty hatreds.’
    • ‘She did not wince as blades sunk deeper to the bone.’
    • ‘She ran into a fence and the sharp wire cut to the bone.’
    • ‘But his wit is more likely to scratch than cut to the bone.’
    • ‘It caught Maiden square beneath the jaw, cutting to the bone.’
    • ‘No, it's too steep for me, especially after Clarence had his leg cut to the bone in a rock slide.’
    • ‘They can be superficial or very deep, extending to the bone.’
    • ‘David Sanborn's alto saxophone caresses the flesh as it cuts to the bone.’
    • ‘It was a deep wound, not quite to the bone but not just skin either.’
    • ‘The wound went straight to the bone; she could see a sliver of white among the blood whenever she painfully flexed her fingers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of the operations was to repair his left hand and stitch up stab wounds, which cut through to the bone.’
    • ‘Jessie felt drained, the bickering with Phoebe had cut her to the bone.’
    1. 1.1 (especially of cold) affecting a person in a penetrating way.
      ‘chilled to the bone’
      • ‘Her entire body was stiff and sore, and she was cold 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.’
  • 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’
    • ‘Shaunelle Curry is a teacher through to her bones.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But, anyone who thinks that careerist social climbers aren't liberals to their bones just doesn't know what he's talking about.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rhenisch, a poet to his bones, is a new world essayist with an old world sensibility.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A salesman down to his bones, he took to selling stock, especially penny stocks.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Although he is a Democrat to his bones, he has disarmed Republicans.’