noun, often attributive
\ ˈskin How to pronounce skin (audio) \

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
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
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

Other Words from skin


skinless \ ˈskin-​ləs How to pronounce skin (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for skin

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of skin in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb The hunter skinned the rabbit and prepared it for cooking. I skinned my knee when I fell. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While Pete Davidson is likely in New York for the season finale of Saturday Night Live, Kim was hitting the streets of Portofino in a skin-tight grey ensemble and letting her long blonde hair down. Glamour, 21 May 2022 Better yet: These body oils are made to quickly absorb into the skin without leaving excess residue behind, with some featuring dry-touch formulas to minimize stickiness. Tiffany Dodson, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 May 2022 The actress was seen on a walk with Jackson around Los Angeles wearing a skin-tight dress and her pregnancy glow on display. Stephanie Kaloi,, 13 May 2022 The bottle contains a potent blend of jojoba oil, which allows the shampoo to penetrate deeper into the skin to work its magic. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 As the Met Gala red carpet drew to a close on Monday night, Kim Kardashian arrived fashionably late in a sparkling skin-tight gown once worn by Marilyn Monroe. Megan C. Hills, CNN, 3 May 2022 The singer posed in front of a mirror, wearing a bright pink Balenciaga catsuit with a lingerie-style bustier bodice and skin-tight boots. Hannah Oh, Seventeen, 20 Apr. 2022 To bring this evil to life, Gower began with a life cast of the actor to ensure all the prosthetic work would be skin tight. Nick Romano,, 18 Apr. 2022 There are also topical formulations available that can be rubbed into the skin. Demetria Wambia, SELF, 11 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These ingredients work in tandem to even skin tone, smooth, and reduce lines. ELLE, 28 Apr. 2022 Here’s another game that had our pink buddy shoehorned into it—HAL had originally created a mini-golf experience called Special Tee Shot, but seeing the popularity of Kirby led them to re-skin the game with him as the ball. PCMAG, 25 Mar. 2022 Clear Power Mask features unique ingredients including niacinamide, kombucha and BHA to promote even skin tone and a clear complexion. Olivia O'bryon, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Finally, the Retinol capsules combine the superhero ingredient with collagen and arbutin to even skin tone and reduce signs of aging without drying you out. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 25 Mar. 2022 Just like chocolate, treat yourself to these tasty treats that contain gluten-free ceramides, which the brand says can help skin retain moisture and protect collagen and elastin. Nicole Charky-chami, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Mar. 2022 True Skin Radiant Priming Serum has a tightening effect that not only diminishes the look of fine lines and pores, but delivers skin a soft yet radiant glow. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 7 Mar. 2022 Among those patrolling was Pjotr Vyerko, 81, a French teacher who lost his wife, Lidya, to skin cancer from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Francesca Ebel, ajc, 3 Mar. 2022 As the adage goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Heather Wishart-smith, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Most of the sub-skin hardware comes from Fiat and English Ford parts bins. Arthur St. Antoine, Car and Driver, 25 Nov. 2020 Then there are the shocking statistics around breast cancer, which affects one in every eight women and is the most common non-skin cancer affecting women. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 30 June 2020 My colleague Emily Schultz went a few months after me and had a funky, skin contact wine. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 24 June 2019 The main issue with temperature drops is skin dehydration or lack of water, says ZENii Skincare founder, GP, and cosmetic doctor Johanna Ward., 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, 11 July 2017 Using spatula and a pair of tongs, carefully turn each fillet so skin side is up. Claire Saffitz, Bon Appetit, 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, 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, 6 June 2017 See More

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.

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

Learn More About skin

Time Traveler for skin

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near skin



skin and bones

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Statistics for skin

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Skin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for skin


\ ˈskin How to pronounce skin (audio) \

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 How to pronounce skin (audio) \

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


transitive verb
skinned; skinning

Medical Definition of skin (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on skin

Nglish: Translation of skin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skin for Arabic Speakers


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