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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Warfare—*are not individually defined by the color of their skin. Joshua Khan, Wired, "Respawn’s Apex Legends Is Just Getting Started," 15 Apr. 2021 Archie’s skin would be, and didn’t defend the couple against false allegations in the press. Melissa Holzberg, Forbes, "‘Extraordinary’ And ‘Cheeky’: Prince William, Prince Harry Memorialize Grandfather In Separate Statements," 12 Apr. 2021 Let the meat sit without nudging until the skin is dark brown and crispy, about 8 minutes. Jeremy Repanich, Robb Report, "David Kinch Shows You a Foolproof Way to Cook Duck Breast at Home," 7 Apr. 2021 Fainkujen was a world traveler From painting graffiti on the walls to drawing ink into the skin, for 26 years friends Rascón and Fainkujen were inseparable. Elizabeth Montgomery, The Arizona Republic, "'People felt comfortable with him': Remembering Isaac Fainkujen, tattoo artist and friend," 3 Apr. 2021 The more hydrated your skin is, the healthier its barrier function is likely to be: ergo, less wrinkles and redness, and a juicier, plumper complexion overall. April Long, Town & Country, "Can Houseplants Give You Better Skin?," 31 Mar. 2021 The Protini serum has a milky consistency and no noticeable smell, and readily absorbed into my skin after applying toner. Karina Hoshikawa,, "Drunk Elephant’s New Serum (Actually) Cleared My Maskne," 25 Mar. 2021 Even though the bird is braised, the skin is crispy., "Recipe: A juicy braised chicken with crispy skin is a festive Seder dish or a mid-week Passover dinner," 23 Mar. 2021 The hotel accommodated visitors at the Embassy Row Hotel, its former self, while transitioning into its new skin as a Tribute Portfolio hotel, a Marriott brand. Washington Post, "Opening a new hotel is never easy. Try doing it during a pandemic.," 19 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To skin each beet, wrap it in a paper towel and give it a gentle squeeze. Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, "Vegan cookbook from Wildseed chef in San Francisco gets creative. Here are 5 tips," 12 Apr. 2021 But like those activists outside of the courthouse, the goal here for Black Lives Matter was not true justice but conformity to an ideology that reduces us all to skin tone. Fox News, "Eli Steele: Justice for George Floyd from honking horns?," 5 Apr. 2021 The coverage has to be just so: enough to even skin tone and conceal redness, under-eye darkness, and hyperpigmentation, without being matte or obvious. Megan Decker,, "Fenty Beauty’s New Foundation Is Dewy Summer Skin In A Bottle," 24 Mar. 2021 Soy’s proteins, lipids and vitamins have super moisturizing powers to help even skin tone, improve texture and boost radiance. Noel Cody, Essence, "Top 5 Natural Ingredients You Need to Know About," 23 Mar. 2021 Other minerals in the clay — calcium, magnesium and iron — are also nourishing to skin. Bryony Gilbey,, "How to make a face mask for skin," 20 Mar. 2021 Once the pan is hot, place the salmon fillets skin side up and cook about 6 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Patricia S York, Southern Living, "How to Cook Perfect Salmon Every Time," 20 Feb. 2021 Elemental Facial Barrier Cream is an intensely nourishing hydrator that conditions skin and provides a soothing barrier from winter’s harsh conditions. David Syrek,, "Pro tips for keeping a guy’s skin looking great — even in a Chicago winter," 19 Feb. 2021 Now, a new Disney film takes us all the way back to the beginning of her story, presumably to explain how a young 1970s London fashion designer turned into the kind of person who hires a pair of hitmen to kidnap, murder and skin her employee’s dogs. Anne Cohen,, "Emma Stone’s Cruella Movie Is Joker Meets Panic! At The Disco," 17 Feb. 2021 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, "Tested: 1988 Prova Designs Countach Looks Like the Real Thing, But Isn't," 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, "‘We can’t ever go to the doctor with our guard down’: Why Black women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer," 30 June 2020 My colleague Emily Schultz went a few months after me and had a funky, skin contact wine. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "The Wine Store in Barcelona Where Wine Nerds Just Want to Share the Love," 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., "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

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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Time Traveler for skin

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for skin

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Skin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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 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
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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More from Merriam-Webster on skin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skin

Nglish: Translation of skin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skin for Arabic Speakers

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