\ ˈskā-lē How to pronounce scaly (audio) \
scalier; scaliest

Definition of scaly

1a : covered with, composed of, or rich in scale or scales
b : flaky
2 : of or relating to scaly animals
3 : despicable, poor a regular scaly old shop— Charles Dickens
4 : infested with scale insects scaly fruit

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Other Words from scaly

scaliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for scaly


scaled, squamous



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Examples of scaly in a Sentence

His skin was dry and scaly. the snake's scaly skin was dry to the touch

Recent Examples on the Web

Over the years, Kardashian West has been open on social media about struggling with the skin condition which causes red, scaly patches usually on the legs, elbows and lower back and are caused by genetics. Kaitlyn Frey,, "This Is the Most Real Photo Kim Kardashian Has Ever Shared of Her Psoriasis," 1 July 2019 Like most vultures, turkey and black vultures have bare heads and scaly skin. Don Lyman,, "Ecological services, courtesy of your local vultures," 19 June 2019 Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, most commonly on the elbows, knees, and scalp. Samantha Lauriello,, "Kim Kardashian Says Her New KKW Beauty Body Makeup Is Her ‘Secret’ to Covering Up Psoriasis," 17 June 2019 The country’s origin myth is about the crocodile Lafaek Diak, who out of friendship for a human boy sacrificed itself to become the child’s home — the island of Timor, with each scaly bump on its back turning into a mountain. Matthew Abbott, New York Times, "The Revered Crocodiles of This Island Nation Have Suddenly Started Killing People," 6 June 2019 Psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, can cause red, scaly patches that may itch, crack, and bleed. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "4 Tips for Putting on Makeup When You Have Psoriasis on Your Face," 24 May 2019 People have long sought relief from eczema—the itchy, scaly, rash-causing skin disorder that affects one in 10 Americans—in lotions, cleansing creams and special soaps. Susan Kitchens, WSJ, "Bacteria May Offer New Hope for Treating Skin Disorders," 5 Feb. 2019 Today’s cinematic Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa, is a lot cooler, with scaly musculature and tangled, flowing locks that recall the deadly tendrils of a Portuguese man o’ war. Thomas Vinciguerra, WSJ, "I Want to Be Aquaman When I Grow Up . . .," 13 Dec. 2018 Photos circulated show the scaly little guys (about one- to three-feet long, not fully grown) being handled by Audubon employees, with kids comfortably petting the gators' backs. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "New Orleans' Airport Lets You Pet Baby Alligators for Emotional Support," 26 Nov. 2018

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

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

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Statistics for scaly

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for scaly

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

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English Language Learners Definition of scaly

: covered with scales or flakes


\ ˈskā-lē How to pronounce scaly (audio) \
scalier; scaliest

Kids Definition of scaly

: covered with scales or flakes scaly skin


\ ˈskā-lē How to pronounce scaly (audio) \
scalier; scaliest

Medical Definition of scaly

: covered with or composed of scale or scales dry scaly skin

Other Words from scaly

scaliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on scaly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scaly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scaly

Spanish Central: Translation of scaly

Nglish: Translation of scaly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scaly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scaly

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characterized by aphorism

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