\ 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

Other Words from scaly

scaliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for scaly



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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 All eight species of these shy, scaly creatures are said to be the most trafficked mammals in the world. National Geographic, 19 Mar. 2020 Unlike melanoma which is usually characterized by unusual moles, lumps and markings, actinic keratosis appears as small, dry, scaly or crusty patches of skin, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. NBC News, 20 Feb. 2020 The highlight was a massive turbot, the flat, shellfish-munching bottom-feeder whose eyes float arbitrarily on one side of its scaly, weird head (a special category of marine delicacy, fabulously ugly and fabulously delicious). Bill Buford, The New Yorker, 8 May 2020 To test McNeill’s doubts, a friend, sitting with McNeill at the kitchen table, uploaded close-ups of a red, scaly rash characteristic of lupus, a serious medical condition. Emma Court,, 29 Apr. 2020 Pangolins—endangered, scaly, ant-eating mammals found in Asia and Africa about the size of domestic cats—are known to carry coronaviruses, Dan Challender wrote in an email. National Geographic, 26 Mar. 2020 Chinese officials have said the virus originated from a fish and meat market in Wuhan, China, that was shut down, and some reports say it may be linked to the pangolin, a scaly mammal that is on the endangered species list. Kimberly Leonard, Washington Examiner, 18 Feb. 2020 Symptoms include pain, itching, redness, flaking, and scaly, cracked skin. Claire Gillespie, SELF, 12 Mar. 2020 The fungal rash can manifest itself as scaly, red circular lesions or flaking skin that is white in color, explains Emily Splichal, a podiatrist in New York City. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, 12 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of scaly

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near scaly



scaly anteater

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Cite this Entry

“Scaly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for scaly


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on scaly

Nglish: Translation of scaly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scaly for Arabic Speakers


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