noun, often attributive
\ ˈskin \

Definition of skin 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a(1) : the integument of an animal (such as a fur-bearing mammal or a bird) separated from the body usually with its hair or feathers

(2) : a usually unmounted specimen of a vertebrate (as in a museum)

b : the hide or pelt of a game or domestic animal

c(1) : the pelt of an animal prepared for use as a trimming or in a garment — compare hide entry 2

(2) : a sheet of parchment or vellum made from a hide

(3) : bottle sense 1b

2a : the external limiting tissue layer of an animal body especially : the 2-layered covering of a vertebrate body consisting of an outer epidermis and an inner dermis

b : an outer covering (such as a rind or husk) of a fruit or seed

c : a membranous film or scum (as on boiling milk or drying paint)

3 : the life or physical well-being of a person saved his own skin

4 : a sheathing or casing forming the outside surface of a structure (such as a ship or airplane)

by the skin of one's teeth

: by a very narrow margin

under one's skin

: so deeply penetrative as to irritate, stimulate, provoke thought, or otherwise excite

under the skin

: beneath apparent or surface differences : at heart


skinned; skinning

Definition of skin (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to strip, scrape, or rub off an outer covering (such as the skin or rind) of

b : to strip or peel off

c : to cut, chip, or damage the surface of fell and skinned my knee

2a : to cover with or as if with skin

b : to heal over with skin

3a : to strip of money or property : fleece

b : to defeat badly

c : censure, castigate

4 : to urge on and direct the course of (a draft animal)

intransitive verb

1 : to become covered with or as if with skin

2a : shinny

b : to pass or get by with scant room to spare



Definition of skin (Entry 3 of 3)

: devoted to showing nudes skin magazines

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Other words from skin


skinless \ˈskin-ləs \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for skin

Synonyms: Noun

exterior, face, outside, shell, surface, veneer

Synonyms: Verb

annihilate, blow away, bomb, bury, clobber, cream, drub, dust, flatten, paste, rout, shellac, skunk, snow under, thrash, trim, trounce, wallop, wax [slang], whip, whomp, whop (or whap), whup

Antonyms: Noun

inside, interior

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Examples of skin in a Sentence


the rough skin of a shark Choose makeup that matches your skin tone. These snakes shed their skins once a year. Native Americans had many uses for animal skins. His boots are made of alligator skin. Potato skin is very nutritious.


The hunter skinned the rabbit and prepared it for cooking. I skinned my knee when I fell.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The creatures’ long white hairs can irritate eyes and skin and cause sometimes deadly allergic reactions. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "In Case You Missed It," 13 July 2018 Consider using tick repellents like DEET for skin and permethrin for clothing. Dennis Thompson, CBS News, "Ticks that carry Lyme disease are spreading fast," 13 July 2018 The human body is well equipped for daily cleansing using your liver, lungs, skin, and kidneys. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Health Matters: Is a "detox diet" good or bad for your health?," 13 July 2018 Should every new arrival be checked, with skin and gut swabs and lab tests, as part of hospital admission? Screening won’t be a perfect defense, because clinical microbiology is struggling with this bug. Maryn Mckenna, WIRED, "The Strange and Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast," 13 July 2018 Or put a blanket or towel between your skin and the ground; natural fibers such as cotton and wool do not interfere with grounding. Carrie Dennett,, "Could walking barefoot on grass improve your health? Some science suggests it can.," 11 July 2018 Among all the talk of black bloods and gray skins and realms, there’s also the threat of a bizarre, surprise epidemic hovering over heroine Talon (Jessica Green)., "All The Best Post-Apocalyptic TV Shows You Can Watch," 11 July 2018 Her makeup, by Jen Tioseco, was understated with the focus on flawless skin and a nude, matte lip. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Bridal Shop Owner Wore Five Different Dresses for her Palm Springs Wedding," 10 July 2018 Meanwhile, both Beyoncé and French actress Louise Bourgoin bucked a full face of makeup in favor of natural skin and a slick of bright red lipstick—a timeless solution no matter the season. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The 10 Best Beauty Looks: Week of July 8, 2018," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thin-skinned, the delicate, finger-length peppers are known for a mild sweetness offset with a gentle heat. Noelle Carter,, "Tempura, salsa and more great ideas for shishito peppers, now in season," 6 July 2018 On a hot side of the grill, place salmon, skinned side up, on the rack. Karoline Boehm Goodnick,, "Recipe: On the Fourth, salmon with herb oil and smashed whole potatoes are on the grill," 2 July 2018 Your information will be used as described in our Privacy Notice Lupe Florez is learning there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or in this particular case, to hone a Wolverine. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Football: Clear Brook puts new spin on summer conditioning," 29 June 2018 There’s a ton of ways to skin a cat, but the way that the guy who is leading them now does it, usually is pretty successful. Christopher Hanna,, "Even On Golf Course, Football Never Far From Edsall's Mind," 20 June 2018 Without gluten, sulfates, or parabens, and packed with aloe and botanicals, these products take to skin beautifully, feel luxurious and nourishing, and look amazing both on your face and on your vanity. Tynan Sinks, Allure, "The Best Natural and Organic Makeup Brands That Makeup Artists Actually Use," 6 June 2018 Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, is an inflammatory skin disease that makes skin dry and itchy, causes rashes and leads to skin infections. Ian Myles, CNN, "A possible new weapon against eczema: live bacteria," 17 May 2018 Mom, who is white, hugs her daughter; Dad, who is brown-skinned, serves up supper; Grandpa settles into a comfy chair. John Lithgow, New York Times, "Grandmas and Grandpas Are a Kid’s Natural Allies in These Books," 22 June 2018 The Caucasian body, found in the La Brea Tar Pits (Jacobson was inspired by a 1935 incident) is now, effectively, black-skinned. Daryl H. Miller,, "'The Ballad of Bimini Baths' plunges into L.A. history," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The main issue with temperature drops is skin dehydration or lack of water, says ZENii Skincare founder, GP, and cosmetic doctor Johanna Ward., "Everything You Need To Get Through The Season With Flake-Free Skin," 21 Mar. 2018 The all-in-one formula gently removes makeup, cleanses face, and leaves skin feeling soft—with no need to even rinse. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, "Our Favorite Back-to-School Drugstore Beauty Bargains," 11 July 2017 Using spatula and a pair of tongs, carefully turn each fillet so skin side is up. Claire Saffitz, Bon Appetit, "Crispy-Skin Salmon with Napa Cabbage," 30 Oct. 2017 Sun Protection F.A.B.'s Skin Tint offers SPF 30, and Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint has none. Sable Yong, Allure, "First Aid Beauty's New Skin Tint Is VERY Similar to Glossier's But They Are NOT the Same," 18 July 2017 Skin imperfections are revealed to have names—papules, pustules, milia, cysts—and to respond to certain treatments. Jamie Lauren Keiles, The New Yorker, "Cleanse, Tone, Obsess: A Forum for Skin-Care Addicts," 6 June 2017 Skin injuries among people who have a toxic exposure to liquid chlorine include burning pain, redness and blisters. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Pool party poopers: CDC warns of parasitic infection, toxic gas," 19 May 2017 Appeared in the Feb. 21, 2017, print edition as 'Sometimes, a CEO’s Qualifications May Be Skin Deep.' Alina Dizik, WSJ, "Want to Be a CEO? It Helps to Look the Part," 17 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skin.' 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 skin


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1933, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for skin


Middle English, from Old Norse skinn; akin to Old English scinn skin, Middle High German schint fruit peel

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Statistics for skin

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for skin

The first known use of skin was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for skin



English Language Learners Definition of skin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the natural outer layer of tissue that covers the body of a person or animal

: the skin of an animal that has been removed from the body often with its hair or feathers still attached and that is used to make things (such as clothes)

: the outer covering of a fruit, vegetable, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of skin (Entry 2 of 2)

: to remove the skin of (an animal, fruit, or vegetable)

: to scrape or rub off some of the skin from (a body part)


\ ˈskin \

Kids Definition of skin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the usually flexible outer layer of an animal body that in vertebrate animals is made up of two layers of cells forming an inner dermis and an outer epidermis

2 : the hide of an animal

3 : an outer or surface layer potato skins

Other words from skin

skinless \-ləs \ adjective
skinned \ˈskind \ adjective smooth-skinned


skinned; skinning

Kids Definition of skin (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to strip, scrape, or rub off the skin of This was the first summer her knees had not been skinned a dozen times … —Betsy Byars, The Summer of the Swans

2 : to remove an outer layer from (as by peeling)


\ ˈskin \

Medical Definition of skin 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: the 2-layered covering of the body consisting of an outer ectodermal epidermis that is more or less cornified and penetrated by the openings of sweat and sebaceous glands and an inner mesodermal dermis that is composed largely of connective tissue and is richly supplied with blood vessels and nerves

skinned; skinning

Medical Definition of skin (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut or scrape the skin of fell and skinned his knee

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Comments on skin

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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