skel·​e·​tal | \ ˈske-lə-tᵊl How to pronounce skeletal (audio) \

Definition of skeletal

: of, relating to, forming, attached to, or resembling a skeleton

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from skeletal

skeletally \ ˈske-​lə-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce skeletally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of skeletal in a Sentence

The archaeologist found skeletal remains. She was skeletal after her illness.

Recent Examples on the Web

After 108 sets of skeletal remains were excavated, and 10 had enough DNA to be studied in depth. Ryan Prior, CNN, "Ancient DNA reveals that Biblical-era Philistines may have originated in Europe," 4 July 2019 That is, until a hunter happened upon the skeletal remains of what appeared to be a small child near a tree deep in a swampy, wooded area of St. Charles Parish on Nov. 29, 1978. Michelle Hunter,, "New suspect named in 1978 abduction, murder of 5-year-old Stephanie Hebert," 29 June 2019 The skeletal remains of a man found in April have been identified as Sonny Ross. Rachel Berry,, "Police identify skeletal remains found in April, coroner rules a homicide," 26 June 2019 Trail and Boswell, 24, were charged with first-degree murder and improper disposal of human skeletal remains last June after allegedly killing of Loofe in Nov. 2017. Joelle Goldstein,, "Man Accused of Killing Girlfriend's Tinder Date Attempts to Slit His Throat During Murder Trial," 25 June 2019 Authorities are trying to find relatives of a man whose skeletal remains were found in a Leeds home 10 days ago. Carol Robinson |,, "Family sought for man whose skeletal remains were found in Leeds home," 24 June 2019 The United States no longer allows family members to accompany diplomats to the Havana post, and only a skeletal staff remains at the embassy. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "Mystery deepens in Havana as U.S. confirms a 26th diplomat in Cuba suffered health symptoms," 28 June 2018 But the Senate only convenes with a skeletal staff with most senators only returning once or twice a week to cast roll call votes. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Republicans may have won the optics war on Congress' summer recess fight," 9 June 2018 Previously, the embassy had been operating under emergency, ordered departure rules in which a skeletal staff of volunteers performed necessary functions, after about 25 staffers were ordered to leave. Carol Morello, Washington Post, "U.S. declares reduced staffing levels ‘permanent’ at embassy in Havana," 2 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of skeletal

1854, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about skeletal

Statistics for skeletal

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for skeletal

The first known use of skeletal was in 1854

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for skeletal



English Language Learners Definition of skeletal

technical : of or relating to a skeleton
: very thin


skel·​e·​tal | \ ˈske-lə-tᵊl How to pronounce skeletal (audio) \

Kids Definition of skeletal

: of or relating to a skeleton skeletal muscles


skel·​e·​tal | \ ˈskel-ət-ᵊl, British sometimes ske-ˈlēt-ᵊl\

Medical Definition of skeletal

: of, relating to, forming, attached to, or resembling a skeleton skeletal structures the skeletal system

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on skeletal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skeletal

Spanish Central: Translation of skeletal

Nglish: Translation of skeletal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skeletal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on skeletal

What made you want to look up skeletal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!