\ ˈbō-nē How to pronounce bony (audio) \
variants: or less commonly boney
bonier; boniest

Definition of bony

1a : consisting of bone
b : resembling bone
2a : full of bones a bony piece of fish
b : having prominent bones a rugged bony face
3a : skinny, scrawny
b : barren, lean

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Examples of bony in a Sentence

a bony piece of fish that bony old horse may have been deliberately starved
Recent Examples on the Web The bony giant, which retailed for $300, turned heads for its extravagant physique this past Halloween. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, 27 Mar. 2021 Echinoderms lie just outside the vertebrate family tree and are probably the closest non-bony relatives of animals with backbones. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 3 Dec. 2020 Its bony external plates, or scutes, were scattered in and around the barrel in which crew members had stored their bounty. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Sep. 2020 When looking at your own ankle, it’s that rounded bony protrusion that sticks out a little bit above your shoe. Colin Hoobler, oregonlive, 24 Aug. 2020 To find the bony shards of antiquity, Sharpe and colleagues suspended soil samples from their excavations in water. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2020 Trout in bony rivers are wary, so stealthy wading and presentations are key. Tom Keer, Field & Stream, 31 July 2020 Ear buds sit in the outer, soft part of the canal, and some also go slightly into the bony part. Heather Kelly, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2019 In the case of Panderichthys, bony elements that many researchers initially thought were rudimentary digit bones were later rejected as such. John A. Long, Scientific American, 20 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bony.' 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 bony

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for bony

Time Traveler

The first known use of bony was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Bony.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for bony



English Language Learners Definition of bony

: resembling bone
: full of bones
: having large or noticeable bones


\ ˈbō-nē How to pronounce bony (audio) \
bonier; boniest

Kids Definition of bony

1 : of or relating to bone a bony growth
2 : like bone especially in hardness bony material
3 : having bones and especially large or noticeable bones a bony fish bony hands
4 : very thin He is tall and bony.


variants: also boney \ ˈbō-​nē How to pronounce bony (audio) \
bonier; boniest

Medical Definition of bony

: consisting of or resembling bone bony prominences of the skull

More from Merriam-Webster on bony

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bony

Nglish: Translation of bony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bony for Arabic Speakers


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