skel·​e·​tal ˈske-lə-tᵊl How to pronounce skeletal (audio)
: of, relating to, forming, attached to, or resembling a skeleton
skeletally adverb

Examples of skeletal in a Sentence

The archaeologist found skeletal remains. She was skeletal after her illness.
Recent Examples on the Web Lucchino saw more than base lines, outfield grass and the basic skeletal structure of a baseball destination. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Apr. 2024 Take a look → Mysterious wooden train car — almost 100 years old — unearthed in Belgium, photos show The skeletal remains inside were determined to belong to a boy who was about 5 years old at the time of his death. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 2 Apr. 2024 When skeletal remains surfaced in Bellaghy bog in 2023, the discovery was shaded with a discomforting question: Was this an archaeological site, or a crime scene? Ed O’Loughlin, New York Times, 1 Apr. 2024 Blocks of rubble, the skeletal remains of homes and shops, survivors living in the shatters who spoke of starvation and horror, collecting rainwater or risking their lives to go to the river, where soldiers shot at them. Phil Klay, The Atlantic, 28 Mar. 2024 The Luce John Doe's skeletal remains were found in October 1987 by hunters in Luce County in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, 5 Mar. 2024 The researchers believe the fire took place in late summer or early autumn because skeletal remains of the lambs kept by one household showed the animals, typically born in spring, were three months to six months old. Katie Hunt, CNN, 20 Mar. 2024 Additionally, the skeletal remains of several other dogs were discovered throughout the property grounds, authorities said. Nicole Acosta, Peoplemag, 19 Mar. 2024 But budget constraints have left the 123-year-old lab with a skeletal staff on key tech teams and most facilities on its main Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo., campuses below acceptable building standards. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'skeletal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of skeletal was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near skeletal

Cite this Entry

“Skeletal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


skel·​e·​tal ˈskel-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce skeletal (audio)
: of, relating or attached to, forming, or resembling a skeleton
skeletal muscles
the skeletal system

Medical Definition


ˈskel-ət-ᵊl, British sometimes ske-ˈlēt-ᵊl
: of, relating to, forming, attached to, or resembling a skeleton
skeletal structures
the skeletal system

More from Merriam-Webster on skeletal

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