Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The internal structure composed of bone and cartilage that protects and supports the soft organs, tissues, and other parts of a vertebrate organism; endoskeleton.
  • n. The hard external supporting and protecting structure in many invertebrates, such as mollusks and crustaceans, and certain vertebrates, such as turtles; exoskeleton.
  • n. A supporting structure or framework, as of a building.
  • n. An outline or sketch.
  • n. Something reduced to its basic or minimal parts.
  • n. One that is very thin or emaciated.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or resembling a skeleton.
  • adj. Reduced to the basic or minimal parts or members: a skeleton crew.
  • idiom skeleton in (one's) closet A source of shame or disgrace, as in a family, that is kept secret.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The system that provides support to an organism, internal and made up of bones and cartilage in vertebrates, external in some other animals.
  • n. A frame that provides support to a building or other construction.
  • n. A very thin person.
  • n. A type of tobogganing in which competitors lie face down, and descend head first (compare luge). See Wikipedia:Skeleton (sport)
  • n. A client-helper procedure that communicates with a stub.
  • n. The vertices and edges of a polyhedron, taken collectively.
  • n. An anthropomorphic representation of a skeleton. See Wikipedia:Skeleton (undead)
  • n. The central core of something that gives shape to the entire structure.
  • v. to reduce to a skeleton; to skin; to skeletonize
  • v. to minimize

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Consisting of, or resembling, a skeleton; consisting merely of the framework or outlines; having only certain leading features of anything
  • n.
  • n. The bony and cartilaginous framework which supports the soft parts of a vertebrate animal.
  • n. The more or less firm or hardened framework of an invertebrate animal.
  • n.
  • n. A very thin or lean person.
  • n. The framework of anything; the principal parts that support the rest, but without the appendages.
  • n. The heads and outline of a literary production, especially of a sermon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy, the dry bones of the body taken together; hence, in anatomy and zoology, some or any hard part, or the set of hard parts together, which form a support, scaffold, or framework of the body, sustaining, inclosing, or protecting soft parts or vital organs; connective tissue, especially when hard, as when fibrous, cuticular, corneous, cartilaginous, osseous, chitinous, calcareous, or silicious; an endoskeleton, exoskeleton, dermoskeleton, scleroskeleton, splanchnoskeleton, etc. (See these words.)
  • n. The supporting framework of anything; the principal parts that support the rest, but without the appendages.
  • n. An outline or rough draft of any kind; specifically, the outline of a literary performance: as, the skeleton of a sermon.
  • n. Milit., a regiment whose numbers have become reduced by casualties, etc.
  • n. A very lean or much emaciated person; a mere shadow of a man.
  • n. In printing, an exceedingly thin or condensed form of light-faced type.
  • Of or pertaining to a skeleton; in the form of a skeleton; skeletal; lean.
  • Consisting of a mere framework, outline, or combination of supporting parts: as, a skeleton leaf; a skeleton crystal.
  • To skeletonize.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the internal supporting structure that gives an artifact its shape
  • n. a scandal that is kept secret
  • n. something reduced to its minimal form
  • n. the hard structure (bones and cartilages) that provides a frame for the body of an animal

Etymologies

Greek skeleton (sōma), dried-up (body), neuter of skeletos, from skellesthai, to dry up.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek σκελετός (skeletos, "dried up, withered, dried body, parched, mummy"), from σκελλώ (skellō, "dry, dry up, make dry, parch"), from Proto-Indo-European *skele- "to parch, whither;" compare Greek Σκληρός "hard". (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • The kneebone Schenectady the thigh bone...

    September 1, 2008

  • Pro, mollusque--and now c_b--this may amuse you. :-)

    September 1, 2008

  • A skeleton walks into a bar, and says "Gimme a beer... and a mop."

    April 8, 2008