bone

noun, often attributive
\ ˈbōn How to pronounce bone (audio) \

Definition of bone

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : 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
2a : 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) : skeleton
(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
5a 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 body— John Hersey
9 slang : dollar
bone to pick
: a matter to argue or complain about

bone

verb
boned; boning

Definition of bone (Entry 2 of 4)

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

adverb

Definition of bone (Entry 3 of 4)

: extremely, very bone tired also : totally

Bone

biographical name
\ ˈbōn How to pronounce Bone (audio) \

Definition of Bone (Entry 4 of 4)

Sir Muirhead 1876–1953 Scottish etcher and painter

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Other Words from bone

Noun

boned \ ˈbōnd How to pronounce Bone (audio) \ adjective
boneless \ ˈbōn-​ləs How to pronounce Bone (audio) \ adjective

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After stripping his acquisitions to the bone, the staffing required to run them was turned over to Liemandt’s Crossover unit. Nathan Vardi, Forbes, "Inside A Remote Work Billionaire’s New Plan To Turn His White Collar Workers Into Algorithms," 27 Apr. 2021 Dressed in a tank top, shorts and a hoodie, Compean was chilled to the bone. Washington Post, "A hiker was lost and desperate. A stranger with an unusual hobby saved him.," 22 Apr. 2021 The quarter horse suffered a severe facial cut to the bone and a fracture above its left eye, likely caused by its head hitting the windshield. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Red Fox Steakhouse to reopen without beloved jazz player," 19 Apr. 2021 They have been stripped to the bone, with most prosecutors reassigned to other areas, according to reports. Tori Richards, Washington Examiner, "Los Angeles County sheriff stands ready to extinguish any riots from Floyd verdict," 19 Apr. 2021 In Alaska a hunter’s been known to set out knives covered in ice-blood on which coywolves will pare themselves down to the bone. Paul Muldoon, The New York Review of Books, "Coywolves," 13 Apr. 2021 Before the federal loans came through, some theaters reluctantly furloughed staff, slicing their organizations to the bone. Helen Shaw, Vulture, "What Happens to New York Theater on April 2?," 2 Apr. 2021 Maybelle Carter chased the music and worked herself to the bone to give the world country music. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "Why Mother Maybelle Carter’s Work Was Never Done," 5 Mar. 2021 Radium, which attaches to bone, is known to cause cancers and other illnesses. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, "When the Kids Started Getting Sick," 2 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "A Petty Knife Is Like a Paring Knife, Only More Useful," 10 Nov. 2020 But for the rest of the carcass, here in Louisiana, people like to bone it out and grind it. Will Coviello, NOLA.com, "Dan Robert of the Southern Food and Beverage museum's Meat Lab leads a class on wild game," 18 Sep. 2020 Whether slicing a tomato or peach for a summertime main dish salad, mincing garlic, or boning fish, there is a perfect knife for the job. Patricia S York, Southern Living, "4 Knives Every Southern Kitchen Should Have," 20 May 2020 To ensure the essential supply of chicken for Canadians across the country, the poultry industry as a whole is shifting away from de-boning chicken legs to increase their production capacity. Shelly Hagan, Bloomberg.com, "Boneless Chicken Starts to Vanish in U.S. Meatpacking Shutdowns," 5 May 2020 Late at night in November 2011, Ted Flores was coming home from running errands in Highland, Ind., when a car T-boned his at an intersection. Washington Post, "‘It only took one pill’: How addiction starts," 23 Dec. 2019 Place wings bone side down on grill and grill covered 10 min. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Grilled Chicken Wings," 1 Apr. 2020 Halfway through the drive, Olomola was T-boned by another automobile. Nick Givas, Fox News, "Uber driver charged with kidnapping after passengers livestream chase," 14 Feb. 2020 No media outlet reports that a pickup that got T-boned was a dark color or that a motorcycle didn’t have its daytime running lights on at the time of a crash. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, "High-Vis Clothing Only Matters if Drivers Pay Attention," 7 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bone

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

History and Etymology for bone

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

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Time Traveler for bone

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bone

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bone. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for bone

bone

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bone

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: any one of the hard pieces that form the frame (called a skeleton) inside a person's or animal's body
: the hard material that bones are made of

bone

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bone (Entry 2 of 3)

: to remove the bones from (a fish or meat)

bone

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of bone (Entry 3 of 3)

: extremely or very : completely or totally

bone

noun
\ ˈbōn How to pronounce bone (audio) \

Kids Definition of bone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of the hard pieces that form the skeleton of most animals the bones of the arm
2 : the hard material of which the skeleton of most animals is formed a piece of bone

Other Words from bone

boneless \ -​ləs \ adjective

bone

verb
boned; boning

Kids Definition of bone (Entry 2 of 2)

: to remove the bones from bone a fish

bone

noun, often attributive
\ ˈbōn How to pronounce bone (audio) \

Medical Definition of bone

1 : one of the hard parts of the skeleton of a vertebrate a shoulder bone the bones of the arm
2 : any of various hard animal substances or structures (as baleen or ivory) akin to or resembling bone
3 : the hard largely calcareous connective tissue of which the adult skeleton of most vertebrates is chiefly composed cancellous bone compact bone — compare cartilage sense 1

Comments on bone

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