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  1. #1
    John Guest

    Cut to the quick

    I notice that your definition of 'cut to the quick' is "If someone is cut to the quick by something they are hurt and upset". Perhaps 'deeply wounded' says it better.
    My reasoning is that quickthorn is an alternative name for hawthorn. If planted the right way up a branch of quickthorn will produce roots and grow into a new hedgerow plant.
    Couch grass is also known as Quick in some parts of the country (England) and is a weed difficult to eradicate. In times past labourers were employed to 'pick quicks'. I imagine this refers to the fact that any fragment of cylindrical round root of this grass, if left in the soil, will regenerate into a complete plant and it is advisable to remove as much as possible.
    From this I conclude that the original meaning of quick must have been a reference to what we would now call undifferentiated tissue. That is tissue from which parts of the body can be generated.
    To cut to the quick is to cause more injury than a hurt or upset it is more life threatening than that.
    Whilst the meaning of words changes it is as well to remember their original meanings

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Cut to the quick

    It doesn't have to be undifferentiated tissue- you can bite your nails to the quick- it's living tissue. 'Quick' meant living- you will find old references to the quick and the dead. However, I think I will change the entry to add a greater degree of seriousness, so thanks for pointing that out.

  3. #3
    Finn Macool Guest

    Re: Cut to the quick

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It doesn't have to be undifferentiated tissue- you can bite your nails to the quick- it's living tissue. 'Quick' meant living- you will find old references to the quick and the dead. However, I think I will change the entry to add a greater degree of seriousness, so thanks for pointing that out.
    Hi John and tdol.

    I haven't seen the original debate referred to but i assume it's about the definition of 'cut to the quick'.

    what it means to me is having an unexpected and painful experience, emotional or otherwise.

    For example if a person that you thought was a friend said something very hurtful and uncalled for to/about yourself.

    I always related the expression to overcutting someones nails by mistake..... and cutting into the quick.

    This can be very painful as I know from experience.

    F.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Cut to the quick

    It started we the idiomatic use of 'cut to the quick', for being hurt emotionally.

  5. #5
    Finn Macool Guest

    Re: Cut to the quick

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    However, I think I will change the entry to add a greater degree of seriousness.....
    Hi tdol.
    Can you point me in the right direction to where i can view 'the entry'.

    I'm new here and still trying to find my way around.

    Finn.

  6. #6
    John Guest

    Re: Cut to the quick

    Yes, something serious is what I was saying. I am not entirely convinced that 'quick' used to mean merely alive. 'Quick' seems to be used to indicate a state of being very alive. In the past people must have been very aware of nature. They knew that roots of couch grass and hawthorne twigs could each produce whole new plants but other parts of the plant could not. They would have noticed that cutting nails to the quick was more painful then cutting a finger and concluded that this part of the body was also more vital.

  7. #7
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    Re: Cut to the quick

    I have just one Question so what is the correct meaning of the word 'Quick' as 'To the quick' is this a Spiritual term like 'life after death' or 'death' or 'life' maybe 'crossing over?'
    I am not meaning to bring up religion just need to know

  8. #8
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: Cut to the quick

    "Quick" originally meant "Alive". So something that is physically cut to the quick has been cut into live flesh. It is not a spiritual term, though the idiom of being cut to the quick has a meaning of being affected emotionally.

    "His words cut me to the quick".

    Quick in terms of speedy developed in the Middle Ages as an extension of "being lively": a quick horse was a horse with much spirit.

  9. #9
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Re: Cut to the quick

    Re: cut to the quick

    Gee, all this time I thought it meant "get to the point."

  10. #10
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    Re: Cut to the quick

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    Re: cut to the quick

    Gee, all this time I thought it meant "get to the point."




    Hehe Yes, get to the point......thats my next line to one of those crazy sales guys that come to the door i never hear a word they are saying anyway:)
    Thanks Ang;)very good explanation for the word. Hurray! for you my friend
    have a good evening
    K

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