Where did the expression 'love someone to the bones' come from?
And is the meaning 'love someone too much' correct for that?
With regard to the song in which you heard it, the phrase has a double meaning. That's probably why you have the impression that it means too much. The song is Silverchair's Ana's Song (Open Fire) and it's about anorexia (ana is teencode for anorexia). The double meaning is "to the bone" as in deeply (see @Kiamlaluno's answer) as well as in the sense of the skin-and-bone appearance of an anorexic body.
As reported by the NOAD, to the bone means:
- (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.
- (especially of cold) affecting a person in a penetrating way: chilled to the bone.
- (or to one's bones) used to emphasize that a person has a specified quality in an overwhelming or fundamental way: she's a New Englander to her bones.
In I love her to the bones, I would interpret to the bones as deeply, not as too much.
The meaning of this idiom is
to the bone
as completely as possible
It can apply not only to love.
To match that meaning with "love someone too much", you would have to use either specific context or specific attitude.
It is often said on British films and TV shows. Two possible meanings are:
I love him/her to bits.
I love every little thing about him or her.
It clearly means 'deeply, all the way through, totally' and no double meaning.
It's an old fashioned originating from the North of England. My Liverpudlian friend uses it a lot particularly when reminiscing about her gran. "I loved the bones of that woman". In essence she loved her to bits!
Definitely a Northern English phrase as referenced in Elbow's song "The Bones Of You"
I heard Christopher Eccleston (in an NPR radio program on Vascular Dementia) say his father was struggling for words when his father said to him, "I love the bones of you."
I think it's an amazing picture of how deeply someone loves you.
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