from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The internal structure that protects and supports the soft organs, tissues, and other parts of a vertebrate organism, and is composed of bone and cartilage or, in certain animals, cartilage alone.
  • noun The hard external structure that supports, protects, or contains the body of many invertebrates, such as mollusks, crustaceans, and corals, and certain vertebrates, such as turtles.
  • noun A supporting structure or framework, as of a building.
  • noun An outline or sketch.
  • noun Something reduced to its basic or minimal parts.
  • noun One that is very thin or emaciated.
  • noun A sport in which a person glides down an icy track head-first lying on one's stomach on a compact, simple sled that lacks steering or brakes.
  • noun The sled used in such a sport.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or resembling a skeleton.
  • adjective Reduced to the basic or minimal parts or members.
  • adjective Of or relating to the sport of skeleton.
  • idiom (skeleton in (one's) closet) A source of shame or disgrace, as in a family, that is kept secret.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To skeletonize.
  • noun 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.)
  • noun The supporting framework of anything; the principal parts that support the rest, but without the appendages.
  • noun An outline or rough draft of any kind; specifically, the outline of a literary performance: as, the skeleton of a sermon.
  • noun Milit., a regiment whose numbers have become reduced by casualties, etc.
  • noun A very lean or much emaciated person; a mere shadow of a man.
  • noun 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The bony and cartilaginous framework which supports the soft parts of a vertebrate animal.
  • noun The more or less firm or hardened framework of an invertebrate animal.
  • noun A very thin or lean person.
  • noun The framework of anything; the principal parts that support the rest, but without the appendages.
  • noun The heads and outline of a literary production, especially of a sermon.
  • adjective Consisting of, or resembling, a skeleton; consisting merely of the framework or outlines; having only certain leading features of anything
  • adjective [Eng.] a bill or draft made out in blank as to the amount or payee, but signed by the acceptor.
  • adjective a key with nearly the whole substance of the web filed away, to adapt it to avoid the wards of a lock; a master key; -- used for opening locks to which it has not been especially fitted.
  • adjective a leaf from which the pulpy part has been removed by chemical means, the fibrous part alone remaining.
  • adjective a proof of a print or engraving, with the inscription outlined in hair strokes only, such proofs being taken before the engraving is finished.
  • adjective a regiment which has its complement of officers, but in which there are few enlisted men.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) a small crustacean of the genus Caprella. See Illust. under Læmodipoda.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun the internal supporting structure that gives an artifact its shape
  • noun a scandal that is kept secret
  • noun something reduced to its minimal form


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

[Greek skeleton (sōma), dried-up (body), neuter of skeletos, from skellesthai, to dry up.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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".


The word skeleton has been adopted by Matthew McVickar.

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

    April 8, 2008

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

    September 1, 2008

  • The kneebone Schenectady the thigh bone...

    September 1, 2008