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, smoke [slang], smother, snow under, thrash, trim, tromp, 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 consensus was evolving toward a vocabulary that emphasized the humanity and unique heritage of all Americans, not their skin color or other physical characteristics. Matthew Hennessey, WSJ, "How to Read ‘Body’ Language," 15 Nov. 2018 There were all these young women who were totally comfortable in their own skin. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explains how Donald Trump is trying to corrupt the Justice Department," 12 Nov. 2018 Just like choosing the correct foundation shade to match your skin color, using the right concealer shade is important when covering up breakouts. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "7 Mistakes You're Making When You Conceal Pimples," 1 Nov. 2018 For whole fish, opt for ones that have clear, bright eyes and shiny — rather than slimy — skin. 2. Woman's Day, "Everything You Need to Know About Picking Out and Preparing Fish," 19 Sep. 2018 The base structure of the heat shield is a titanium truss covered with a composite substrate (or skin) that has several layers of carbon fiber. Elizabeth Howell,, "NASA's Orion Spacecraft Gets Heat Shield for Daring Test Flight to the Moon," 21 Aug. 2018 In addition to the beta access, all Galaxy Note 9 and Tab S4 users will receive a unique Fortnite Galaxy skin. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung celebrates the Galaxy Note 9 launch with Fortnite beta access and 15,000 free V-Bucks," 9 Aug. 2018 The Americans required a chameleon star, who, like her character, could shed her own skin at will, disappearing into the various nuances and complexities of the role., "This Is Keri Russell's Time To Shine — Welcome To The Russell-ution, Comrades," 13 July 2018 Her photography helps clients feel comfortable in their own skin. Amanda Kingsbury, Indianapolis Star, "Ugly. Chubby. Scarred. Hate is washed away in Indiana photographer's swimsuit shoot," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lenovo can't skin the UI, either, so the UI on other smart displays should look identical to this one. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Lenovo Smart Display review: The Google Assistant now has a face," 26 July 2018 The pebbly skinned Hass variety is the undisputed champion of supermarket avocados. Susan Russo,, "Avocado aficionado: Sam the Cooking Guy," 4 June 2018 Some Rosies were light-skinned; others shades of deep caramel or mocha. Monica Rhor, Houston Chronicle, "Girls tackle life, love and loss at Houston empowerment conference," 28 Apr. 2018 In early June, Brittany Peters of Minnesota shot two iguanas, skinned them and made her first iguana burrito at her family’s home in Fort Lauderdale. Ellie Rushing,, "How to cook iguana burritos," 29 June 2018 Thin-skinned and foul-mouthed, with grudges against everyone, the bereaved are a dirty dozen of unpublishable grievance. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: A Raucous Wake for ‘Our Lady of 121st Street’," 20 May 2018 Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and pepper, arrange the pieces skin side down in the skillet (do not crowd — work in batches, if necessary) and cook, undisturbed, until skin is browned, about 5 minutes., "Recipes: Comforting old-fashioned chicken and spring peas for dinner," 9 June 2018 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

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

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

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by force of circumstances

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