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 For brighter skin, check out the Clinique Endless Glow Moisture Surge Set. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "Ulta Beauty's Love Your Skin Event Is Here, and the Deals Are So Good," 5 Jan. 2021 For oily skin, readers also liked La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser, as well as Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Treatment Gel, which contains Benzoyl Peroxide. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Skin care bestsellers 2020: Most purchased skin care products we covered," 30 Dec. 2020 Read on for Hughes' advice, plus the best makeup for dry skin. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "The Best Makeup for Dry Skin and How to Apply It," 29 Dec. 2020 There was an ode to French onion soup that was packed with pork confit and topped with crispy pork skin. New York Times, "The Treasured Diners and Hidden Haunts That Covid-19 Closed for Good," 27 Dec. 2020 Her husband, Craig Roberts, an ophthalmologist and cosmetic eye surgeon, provided expertise on skin. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Flori Roberts Created a Cosmetics Line for Dark Skin," 22 Dec. 2020 The pomegranate fruit, with a crimson skin that peels open to reveal ruby-red pearls of tart juice, carries ancient symbolism of fullness and fertility., "Fruit of paradise is a motif in many world religions, and a potent symbol at Christmas," 21 Dec. 2020 Exceptionally soft texture, ideal for sensitive skin. Michael Pollick,, "The best facial tissue," 19 Dec. 2020 The aforementioned lotion is a customer favorite, racking up more than 6,400 glowing reviews from Amazon shoppers, who praised it for its gentle hydration—even for shoppers with sensitive skin. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Friday," 19 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cyber Monday sale, with deals on everything from makeup to hair tools to skin care. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "The best fashion and beauty deals to shop this Cyber Monday," 30 Nov. 2020 At Mammoth, uphill skiers can take a lesson or hire a guide to skin up the mountain. Brian E. Clark, Los Angeles Times, "If you thought 2020 was backward, wait till you see uphill skiing," 11 Dec. 2020 Cyber Monday sale, with deals on everything from makeup to hair tools to skin care. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "The best fashion and beauty deals to shop this Cyber Monday," 30 Nov. 2020 If a stem is broken, poinsettias do emit a white, milky sap which can be irritating to mouths or skin if not washed off. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "How to Care for Poinsettias," 7 Dec. 2020 Our kids are constantly being inundated with messages about what boys and girls do, and which skin color comes with which character traits and which doesn't. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "Talk to your kids about Kamala Harris and other elected women," 3 Dec. 2020 Saturate the mask inside the sachet with the ampoule that contains a hydrating trio of aloe, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid, and then apply the mask to skin. Eartha Terrell, Allure, "All the Best Beauty Essentials to Stock Up on This Cyber Monday," 30 Nov. 2020 Cyber Monday sale, with deals on everything from makeup to hair tools to skin care. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "The best fashion and beauty deals to shop this Cyber Monday," 30 Nov. 2020 Cyber Monday sale, with deals on everything from makeup to hair tools to skin care. Cnn Underscored Staff, CNN Underscored, "400+ early Cyber Monday deals you can shop now," 29 Nov. 2020 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Skin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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