\ 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

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 One particularly exciting aspect of the Wyoming fossil is a bony protuberance over its eye sockets, which is not a feature seen in nocturnal birds. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 25 May 2022 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 See More

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.

First Known Use of bony

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bony



bony bream

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Cite this Entry

“Bony.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bony


\ 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

Nglish: Translation of bony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bony for Arabic Speakers


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