to the quick

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English[edit]

Prepositional phrase[edit]

to the quick

  1. To the level of living tissue.
    • 1904, Jack London, chapter 39, in The Sea-Wolf:
      Blood dripped from every finger-end, while the nails were broken to the quick.
  2. Very deeply; at one's most sensitive level of feeling.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, act 4, scene 4:
      Titus, I have touched thee to the quick.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter 14, in Tom Jones, a Foundling:
      This false evidence . . . stung me to the quick, and raised an indignation scarce conceivable.
    • 1837, Charlotte Brontë, chapter 37, in Jane Eyre:
      The powerlessness of the strong man touched my heart to the quick.

Related terms[edit]