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 skinless (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 Note: Blanched almond flour is finer than almond meal and has a lighter beige color because the almond skins aren’t ground up with the nuts when processed. cleveland, "These tots are made from cauliflower," 22 Mar. 2020 The skin again looks fiery red and sometimes weepy. oregonlive, "Suckers from grafted rose need a trim: Ask an expert," 22 Mar. 2020 There’s passion in the crackling skin of crispy duck and the electric green shimmer of choy sum greens, Chinese broccoli and snow pea leaves. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Phoenix Chinese Cafe restaurant hits and misses with 3 menus, dim sum, authentic and standard, on San Antonio’s North Side," 12 Mar. 2020 To construct the outer skin of Starship, 17 barrels are stacked and welded together, with a nose cone on top. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Inside Elon Musk’s plan to build one Starship a week—and settle Mars," 5 Mar. 2020 Evers also signed a bill requiring the state Department of Natural Resources to conduct a public information campaign about Lyme disease, which is transmitted by deer ticks and causes a skin rash, fever, headache and fatigue. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tony Evers signs bills to make bestiality a felony and curb 'porch pirates'," 3 Mar. 2020 Previous studies had found that a mutation that activated this gene leads to excessive cholesterol in the blood, causing waxy, yellow clumps to accumulate under the skin. Oscar Schwartz, Harper's magazine, "Out of Africa," 2 Mar. 2020 But some contestants are getting under people's skin. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Netflix's 'Love Is Blind' Is All Anybody Can Talk About," 26 Feb. 2020 Almost anyone who played in the NBA in the 1980s has heard the Indiana native get under the skin of opponents. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Dominique Wilkins reminisces about Larry Bird, Chuck Person talking trash," 18 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Picking out splinters with the knife Prying things like batteries with the flat-head screwdriver Cutting wires Pruning small limbs Infrequent uses include everything from skinning squirrels to opening cans. Josh Centers, USA TODAY, "8 things preppers recommend to get you through the coronavirus crisis," 20 Mar. 2020 Here, almost everything, from the dishwasher to the refrigerator to the range to the dining table, is skinned in the marble. Kurt Soller, New York Times, "The Extravagance of Less," 19 Mar. 2020 Arrange cod skinned side down in even layer on top of lemon slices. NBC News, "Cod with warm tabbouleh salad: A Mediterranean dish you can make in your Instant Pot," 17 Mar. 2020 These are the faces representing the young woman who was brutally killed and skinned. Shania Shelton And Kendall Trammell, CNN, "Settle in with these weekend reads," 21 Feb. 2020 But make sure all products are age appropriate and PH appropriate for infant and babies skin type. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "How To Safely Get Your Baby’s Edges Laid Like These Celebrity Infants," 14 Jan. 2020 The birds can be skinned rather than plucked and will stay moist in the cooker. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "A pressure cooker, a couple of willow ptarmigan and voila! Dinner is served.," 4 Jan. 2020 Nats, intense and porcelain-skinned, is a lifelong tomboy. James Reginato, Town & Country, "Outrageous Fortune: Nats, August, and Gigi Gorgeous Getty Are Not Your Typical Old-Money Scions," 14 Jan. 2020 The majority of the cut marks on the seal bones suggest the animals were butchered for their meat, rather than simply skinned. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, "The real ‘paleo diet’ may have been full of toxic metals," 14 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 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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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

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for skin


How to pronounce skin (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skin

Spanish Central: Translation of skin

Nglish: Translation of skin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skin for Arabic Speakers

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