skel·​e·​tal | \ˈske-lə-tᵊl \

Definition of skeletal 

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

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Other Words from skeletal

skeletally \ˈske-​lə-​tᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Examples of skeletal in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Since 2017, the skeletal remains of more than 40 people have been found in Cabeza Prieta, according to migrant mortality data collected with the help of Pima County’s medical examiner office. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "Aid for Immigrants on Desert Trek Stirs Religion-Freedom Fight," 6 Dec. 2018 The oldest signs of human migration before the discovery in China appeared in Dmanisi, Georgia, where skeletal remains and tools were found that dated back 1.85 million years. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Chinese Cave Tools Point To Earliest Known Human Migration," 13 July 2018 In the videos obtained by the AP, dating to 13 days after the killing began, blue-green puddles of acid sludge surround corpses without heads and torsos that jut out from the earth, skeletal hands seeming to claw at the ground. Foster Klug, Houston Chronicle, "Mass graves uncovered in Myanmar," 1 Feb. 2018 The heads look skeletal, and their juxtaposition with the voluptuous bodies imbues the images with the suggestion of death but also an alien quality. Sharon Mizota,, "In Katherine Sherwood's nude paintings, disability and race enter the picture," 2 Apr. 2018 For the past 10 years, Dripps had struggled with spinal deterioration and had a dual diagnosis of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis and ankylosing spondylitis. Janelle Walker, Elgin Courier-News, "Family of man who shot 3 officers in South Elgin standoff says he was distraught with health, financial woes," 10 July 2018 Abandon as in recklessness, but also sudden departure: leaving behind the starving self, its cold skeletal shell. Daphne Merkin, The New Republic, "How Leslie Jamison rejected the link between creativity and alcoholism," 5 July 2018 Among the latest additions to the visitor center is an 8-foot-high skeletal reconstruction of a 2,000-pound Harlan's Ground Sloth. Nancy Daly,, "Fish moved from lake at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site," 4 July 2018 With new tools like DNA sequencing and skeletal analysis, forensic specialists could identify remains and match them to living relatives. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 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.

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First Known Use of skeletal

1854, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for skeletal

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for skeletal

The first known use of skeletal was in 1854

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More Definitions for skeletal



English Language Learners Definition of skeletal

: of or relating to a skeleton

: very thin


skel·​e·​tal | \ˈske-lə-tᵊl \

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

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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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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