Share this entry

Share this page

close to (or near) the bone

Definition of close to or near the bone in English:

1(Of a remark) penetrating and accurate to the point of causing discomfort: the headmaster was getting a little too close to the bone for my liking
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
1.1(Of a joke or story) likely to cause offence because near the limit of decency.
Example sentences
  • As a frequent comedy night visitor, I am well used to jokes that are close to the bone and believe I have a liberal attitude to most areas.
  • It won't be to everyone's taste, the humour at times being dark and the jokes occasionally a little close to the bone, but it's funny because it's true.
  • It is during the exchanges that the vitality of the pack can best be savoured, even if some of the jokes run close to the bone, and feel a little obvious and outdated.
See parent entry: bone

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something