bone

1 of 3

noun

often attributive
1
a
: one of the hard parts of the skeleton of a vertebrate
b
: any of various hard animal substances or structures (such as baleen or ivory) akin to or resembling bone
c
: the hard largely calcareous connective tissue of which the adult skeleton of most vertebrates is chiefly composed
2
a
: essence, core
cut costs to the bone
a liberal to the bone
b
: the most deeply ingrained part : heart
usually used in plural
knew in his bones that it was wrong
3
bones plural
a(1)
(2)
: body
rested my weary bones
(3)
: corpse
inter a person's bones
b
: the basic design or framework (as of a play or novel)
4
: matter, subject
a bone of contention
5
a
bones plural : thin bars of bone, ivory, or wood held in pairs between the fingers and used to produce musical rhythms
b
: a strip of material (such as whalebone or steel) used to stiffen a garment (such as a corset)
c
bones plural : dice
6
: something that is designed to placate : sop
7
: a light beige
8
: inclination sense 4a
hadn't a political bone in his bodyJohn Hersey
9
slang : dollar
boned adjective
boneless adjective

bone

2 of 3

verb

boned; boning

transitive verb

1
: to remove the bones from
bone a fish
2
: to provide (a garment) with stays
3
: to rub (something, such as a boot or a baseball bat) with something hard (such as a piece of bone) in order to smooth the surface
4
US, vulgar slang : to have sexual intercourse with (someone)

intransitive verb

: to study hard : grind
bone through medical school

bone

3 of 3

adverb

: extremely, very
bone tired
also : totally
Phrases
bone to pick
: a matter to argue or complain about

Examples of bone in a Sentence

Noun He broke a bone in his left arm. The leg bone is connected to the knee bone. We are all made of flesh and bone. The handle of the knife is made from bone. Adverb The air is bone dry. grew up in a backwoods area that was bone poor
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Marni bone patent leather overcoat, gray knit zip top, tomato capri leggings. Steven Meisel, Vogue, 20 June 2024 But, according to an article in trade publication Campaign, the ad cut a little too close to the bone for some industry executives. Sydney Lake, Fortune, 18 June 2024
Verb
As to roasting, Don likes to bone out the chicken or spatchcock it by removing the backbone, before seasoning and rubbing with olive oil and roasting in the oven at 300 degrees for up to three hours. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Oct. 2021 It’s the champion of the all-around: agile enough to make delicate work of veggies and sturdy enough to bone a chicken. Amiel Stanek, Bon Appétit, 10 Nov. 2020 See all Example Sentences for bone 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bone.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English bon, going back to Old English bān, going back to Germanic *baina- (whence also Old Frisian & Old Saxon bēn "bone," Old High German bein "bone, leg," Old Norse bein "bone" and probably beinn "straight"), perhaps going back to Indo-European *bhoi̯H-n-o-, a derivative of a verbal base *bhei̯H- "strike, hew," whence, with varying suffixation, Old Irish benaid "(s/he) hews, cuts," robíth "(it) has been struck," Middle Breton benaff "(I) cut," Latin perfinēs (glossed by the Roman grammarian Festus as perfringās "you should break") and probably Old Church Slavic bijǫ, biti "to hit"

Note: Germanic lacks an outcome of Indo-European *h2ost- "bone" (see osteo-), and it has been theorized that the etymon was replaced by *bhoi̯H-n-o-, used attributively in the sense "broken off," first with Germanic *ast-a- "branch" and then, with homonymous *ast- "bone" (the expected outcome of *h2ost-); the meaning "straight" seen in Old Norse beinn may have been an intermediary stage.

Verb

derivative of bone entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adverb

circa 1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bone was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bone

Cite this Entry

“Bone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bone. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

bone

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a hard material which is largely calcium phosphate and of which the skeleton of most vertebrate animals is formed
also : one of the hard parts in which this material occurs
break a bone
b
: a hard animal substance (as baleen or ivory) similar to bone
2
: a cause of disagreement
used in the phrases bone of contention and bone to pick
3
plural : something usually or originally made from bone (as dice or clappers)
4
a
: the basic part
cut costs to the bone
b
: the most deeply ingrained part
knew in her bones it was wrong
5
plural : body
rest my weary bones
boneless adjective
bonelike
-ˌlīk
adjective

bone

2 of 2 verb
boned; boning
1
: to remove the bones from
bone a fish
2
: to study hard
bone up on math

Medical Definition

bone

noun
1
a
: one of the hard parts that make up the skeleton of a vertebrate and that varies in size and shape
a shoulder bone
the bones of the hand
sometimes used before another noun
Osteoporosis is a major underlying cause of bone fractures in postmenopausal women and older persons in general.The Journal of the American Medical Association
b
: the hard largely calcareous (see calcareous sense 1) connective tissue of which bones are chiefly composed
cancellous bone
compact bone
sometimes used before another noun
Age-related bone loss begins in men and women at about age 35 and is caused by a slight but persistent elevation in the rate of bone resorption over the rate of bone formation.Peter S. Millard et al., American Family Physician
compare cartilage sense 1
2
: any of various hard animal substances or structures (such as baleen or ivory) akin to or resembling bone
Natural materials like cuttlefish bone, sea urchin spines, and seashells have all been studied and investigated extensively …V. Lalzawmliana et al., Springer Series in Biomaterials Science and Engineering

Biographical Definition

Bone

biographical name

Sir Muirhead 1876–1953 Scottish etcher and painter

More from Merriam-Webster on bone

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