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skeleton

noun skel·e·ton \ ˈske-lə-tən \

Definition of skeleton

1 :a usually rigid supportive or protective structure or framework of an organism; especially :the bony or more or less cartilaginous framework supporting the soft tissues and protecting the internal organs of a vertebrate
2 :something reduced to its minimum form or essential parts
3 :an emaciated person or animal
4 a :something forming a structural framework
b :the straight or branched chain or ring of atoms that forms the basic structure of an organic molecule
5 :something shameful and kept secret (as in a family) often used in the phrase skeleton in the closet
6 :a small sled that is ridden in a prone position and used especially in competition; also :the competition itself

skeletonic

play \ˌske-lə-ˈtä-nik\ adjective

Examples of skeleton in a Sentence

  1. They found the fossil skeleton of a mastodon.

  2. He hung a plastic skeleton on the door for Halloween.

  3. She was a skeleton after her illness.

  4. Only the charred skeleton of the house remained after the fire.

  5. We saw a skeleton of the report before it was published.

Recent Examples of skeleton from the Web

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

Illustration of skeleton

Origin and Etymology of skeleton

New Latin, from Greek, neuter of skeletos dried up; akin to Greek skellein to dry up, sklēros hard and perhaps to Old English sceald shallow


2

skeleton

adjective

Definition of skeleton

:of, consisting of, or resembling a skeleton

First Known Use of skeleton

1778



SKELETON Defined for English Language Learners

skeleton

noun

Definition of skeleton for English Language Learners

  • : the structure of bones that supports the body of a person or animal

  • : a set or model of all the bones in the body of a person

  • : a very thin person or animal


skeleton

adjective

Definition of skeleton for English Language Learners

  • : having the smallest possible number of people who can get a job done


SKELETON Defined for Kids

skeleton

noun skel·e·ton \ ˈske-lə-tən \

Definition of skeleton for Students

1 :a firm structure or framework of a living thing that in vertebrates (as fish, birds, or humans) is typically made of bone and supports the soft tissues of the body and protects the internal organs
2 :framework
  • the steel skeleton of a building

Medical Dictionary

skeleton

noun skel·e·ton \ ˈskel-ət-ᵊn \

medical Definition of skeleton

1 :a usually rigid supportive or protective structure or framework of an organism; especially :the bony or more or less cartilaginous framework supporting the soft tissues and protecting the internal organs of a vertebrate
2 :the straight or branched chain or ring of atoms that forms the basic structure of an organic molecule

Illustration of skeleton



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