• IPA: /ˈskɛlətən/

skeleton (plural skeletons)

  1. (anatomy) The system that provides support to an organism, internal and made up of bones and cartilage in vertebrates, external in some other animals.
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Treasure Hunt—Flint’s Pointer”, in Treasure Island, London; Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, OCLC 702939134 ↗, part VI (Captain Silver), page 263 ↗:
      At the foot of a pretty big pine, and involved in a green creeper, which had even partly lifted some of the smaller bones, a human skeleton lay, with a few shreds of clothing, on the ground.
  2. An anthropomorphic representation of a skeleton.
    She dressed up as a skeleton for Halloween.
    • 1724, Charles Johnson, “Of Captain Spriggs and His Crew”, in A General History of the Pyrates, […], 2nd edition, London: Printed for, and sold by T. Warner, […], OCLC 2276353 ↗, [–412/mode/1up pages 411–412]:
      A Day or two after they parted, [Francis] Spriggs was choſe Captain by the reſt, and a black Enſign was made, which they called Jolly Roger, with the ſame Device that Captain [Edward] Low carried, viz. a white Skeliton in the Middle of it, with a Dart in one Hand ſtriking a bleeding Heart, and in the other, an Hour Glaſs; when this was finiſhed and hoiſted, they fired all their Guns to ſalute their Captain and themſelves, and then looked out for Prey.
  3. (figuratively) A very thin person.
    She lost so much weight while she was ill that she became a skeleton.
  4. (figuratively) The central core of something that gives shape to the entire structure.
    The skeleton of the organisation is essentially the same as it was ten years ago, but many new faces have come and gone.
  5. (architecture) A frame that provides support to a building or other construction.
  6. (computing) A client-helper procedure that communicates with a stub.
    In remote method invocation, the client helper is a ‘stub’ and the service helper is a ‘skeleton’.
  7. (geometry) The vertices and edges of a polyhedron, taken collectively.
  8. (printing) A very thin form of light-faced type.
  9. (attributive) Reduced to a minimum or bare essentials.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

skeleton (skeletons, present participle skeletoning; past and past participle skeletoned)

  1. (archaic) to reduce to a skeleton; to skin; to skeletonize
  2. (archaic) to minimize

skeleton (uncountable)

  1. (sports, uncountable) A type of tobogganing in which competitors lie face down, and descend head first (compare luge).
  • (type of tobogganing) skeleton tobogganing
  • German: Skeleton
  • Portuguese: skeleton
  • Russian: ске́летон

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