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

  • noun The membranous tissue forming the external covering or integument of an animal and consisting in vertebrates of the epidermis and dermis.
  • noun An animal pelt, especially the comparatively pliable pelt of a small or young animal.
  • noun A usually thin, closely adhering outer layer.
  • noun A thin, close-fitting, usually elastic garment, especially a shirt, worn by scuba divers and others who engage in water sports for protection against scrapes and other superficial injuries.
  • noun A container for liquids that is made of animal skin.
  • noun Music A drumhead.
  • noun One of a pair of strips of fabric or other material temporarily applied to the undersides of a pair of skis to provide traction while ascending slopes.
  • noun Computers A design layout for the interface of a program such as a media player or instant messaging application that a user can select and often customize in order to alter the default appearance.
  • noun Informal One's life or physical survival.
  • intransitive verb To remove skin from.
  • intransitive verb To bruise, cut, or injure the skin or surface of.
  • intransitive verb To remove (an outer covering); peel off.
  • intransitive verb To cover with a skin or a similar layer.
  • intransitive verb Slang To fleece; swindle.
  • intransitive verb To become covered with skin or a similar layer.
  • intransitive verb To pass with little room to spare.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or depicting pornography.
  • idiom (by the skin of (one's) teeth) By the smallest margin.
  • idiom (get under (someone's) skin) To irritate or stimulate; provoke.
  • idiom (get under (someone's) skin) To preoccupy someone; become an obsession.
  • idiom (have a thick skin) To be slow to take offense.
  • idiom (have a thick skin) To be insensitive to the needs or concerns of others.
  • idiom (make (one's) skin/flesh) To cause one to be afraid or disgusted.
  • idiom (under the skin) Beneath the surface; fundamentally.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To provide with skin; cover as with a skin.
  • To strip the skin from; flay; peel.
  • To strip or peel off; remove by turning back and drawing off inside out.
  • To strip of valuable properties or possessions; fleece; plunder; rob; cheat; swindle.
  • To copy or pretend to learn by employment of irregular or forbidden expedients, as a college exercise: as, to skin an example in mathematics by copying the solution.
  • To become covered with skin; grow a new skin; cicatrize: as, a wound skins over.
  • To accomplish anything by irregular, underhand, or dishonest means; specifically, in college use, to employ forbidden or unfair methods or expedients in preparing for recitation or examination.
  • To slip away; abscond; make off.
  • To range wide, as a dog in the field.
  • noun In anat, and zoology, the continuous covering of an animal; the cutaneous investment of the body; the integument, cutis, or derm, especially when soft and flexible, a hard or rigid skin being called a shell, test, exoskeleton, etc.
  • noun The integument of an animal stripped from the body, with or without its appendages; a hide, pelt, or fur, either raw and green, or variously cured, dressed, or tanned.
  • noun In museums, the outer covering of an animal, preserved for examination or exhibition with the fur, feathers, etc., but not mounted or set up in imitation of life.
  • noun A water-vessel made of the whole or nearly the whole skin of a goat or other beast; a wine-skin. See cut under bottle.
  • noun That which resembles skin in nature or use; the outer coat or covering of anything; especially, the exterior coating or layer of any substance when firmer or tougher than the interior; a rind or peel: as, the skin of fruit or plants; the skin (putamen) of an egg.
  • noun Nautical:
  • noun That part of a furled sail which is on the outside and covers the whole.
  • noun The planking or iron plating which covers the ribs of a vessel on the inside; also, the thin plating on the outer side of the ribs of an armor-plated iron ship.
  • noun A mean, stingy person; a skinflint.
  • noun A hot punch of whisky made in the glass; a whisky-skin.
  • noun = Syn. 1, 2, and Skin, Hide, Pelt. Rind, Peel, Husk, Bull. Skin is the general word for the external covering or tissue of an animal, including man, and for coatings of fruits, especially such coatings as are thin, as of apples, Hide applies especially to the skin of large domestic animals, as horses and oxen. Pelt is an untanned skin of a beast with the hair on. Rind is used somewhat generally of the bark of trees, the natural covering of fruit, etc. Peel is the skin or rind of a fruit, which is easily removable by peeling off: as, orange-peel; the peel of a banana. Husk is an easily removable integument of certain plants, especially Indian corn. A hull is generally smaller than a husk, perhaps less completely covering the fruit: as, strawberry-hulls; raspberry-hulls.
  • noun In electricity, the outer layers of a conductor, which serve in the conduction of currents of high frequency.
  • To take off the top layer of, as of a race-track.

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

  • intransitive verb To become covered with skin.
  • intransitive verb College Cant, U.S. To produce, in recitation, examination, etc., the work of another for one's own, or to use in such exercise cribs, memeoranda, etc., which are prohibited.
  • transitive verb To strip off the skin or hide of; to flay; to peel.


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

[Middle English, from Old Norse skinn; see sek- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English skinn, from Old Norse skinn ("animal hide"), from Proto-Germanic *skinþan (cf. Old English scinn ("hide"), Dutch schinde ("bark"), German dialect Schinde ("fruit peel")), from Proto-Celtic *skento- (cf. Breton skant ("scales"), Old Irish ceinn), from Proto-Indo-European *skend- (“to split off”) (cf. Irish scainim ("I tear, burst"), Latin scindere ("to split, divide"), Sanskrit  (chinátti, "he splits")), nasal variant of *skeh₁i-d- (“to cut”). More at shed.


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  • Beneath the black hoods and hats, their faces were white, skin the color of alabaster and possessed of an abnormal quality, an unidentifiable property that ordinary skin -- _human skin_ -- did not have.

    The Store Little, Bentley 1998

  • The layer marked 1 is the outside, very thin skin, called the _cuticle_ or _scarf skin_.

    American Woman's Home Harriet Beecher Stowe 1853

  • The most advanced anti-aging skin care system for normal-to-dry skin A. Time DefiA.ce® Skin care System for normal-to-dry skin Give normal-to-dry skin the extra hydration it needs with this superb anti-aging skin care system that gives you 41% younger-looking skin* while instantly increasing skin hydration by 181%.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows KNWahl 2010

  • II. iii.117 (452,3) Here, lay Duncan,/His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood] Mr. Pope has endeavoured to improve one of these lines by substituting _goary blood_ for _golden blood_; but it may easily be admitted that he who could on such an occasion talk of _lacing the silyer skin_, would _lace it_ with _golden blood_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • The roasted plantain skin is mixed with palm oil and palm kernel oil to form the soap.

    19 posts from November 2007 2007

  • The roasted plantain skin is mixed with palm oil and palm kernel oil to form the soap.

    Dr. Woods Soap 2007

  • Better just let Burt Katz do his thing Story: In Chicago's 'Clybourne Park,' everything and nothing seem to change Story: At Victory Gardens, the pleasures and perils of electrified desire Berkshire Hathaway - relax, you're reading the theater column, not the business pages - for popularizing, if not coining, the phrase "skin in the game."

    News - 2011

  • Moreover, cutting off the circulation to any part of the body and leaving (hopefully) temporary indentations to the skin is another dead giveaway.

    Jason Kitchen: When Pondering Life's Greatest Questions, Look no Further Than Yahoo! Jason Kitchen 2010

  • What I think really gets under her skin is the fact that Barack Obama is wildly more popular among the people we have to share this planet with than her stuffed-sock-in-the-codpiece hero.

    No Mas Macho 2009

  • She's wrapped in like a plastic bag to keep her warm, and her skin is all raw and bruised-looking, and she's on a ventilator.

    Humor Helped Author Cope With High-Risk Birth 2010

  • “People were learning about an ingredient, getting excited about it and then just adding it to their evening routine,” said Dr. Whitney Bowe, the perky dermatologist in New York who coined the term “skin cycling.”

    Should You Be ‘Skin Cycling’? By 2022


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  • A contranym: both to cover (be covered) with, and to remove outer covering.

    May 15, 2008

  • But the ascendant

    are these tattooed Skins,

    LOVE on one fist and

    HATE on the other.

    - Peter Reading, 5x5x5x5x5, 1983

    July 1, 2008

  • When I was a young kid, all of my friends and I knew the meaning of "escape by the skin of my teeth" and not a single one of us knew it was the translation of B'3or SHinai, a Hebrew pun on the word B'QoSHi (which means "barely, hardly, with difficulty") in the biblical book of Job 19:20. The 3 above represents the Hebrew letter aiyin with an ancient G/K-sound, as in 3aZa = Gaza.

    June 16, 2009