- skeleton [skel′ə tən]n.[ModL < Gr < skeleton (sōma), dried (body), mummy < skeletos, dried up, akin to sklēros, dry, hard < IE base * (s)kel- > SHALLOW]1. the hard framework of an animal body, supporting the tissues and protecting the organs; specif., all the bones collectively, or the bony framework, of a human being or other vertebrate animal2. anything like a skeleton in any of various ways3.a) a very lean or emaciated person or animalb) a supporting framework, as of a shipc) an outline or preliminary sketch, as of a noveld) the meager or devitalized remains of somethingadj.1. of or like a skeleton; specif., of, or having the nature of, the main or essential outline, framework, etc. [a skeleton plan]2. greatly reduced [a skeleton force]——————skeleton at the feasta person or event that brings gloom or sadness to an occasion of joy or celebration——————skeleton in the closetsome fact, as about one's family, kept secret because of shame or fear of disgraceskeletal [skel′ətəl]adj.
English World dictionary. V. Neufeldt. 2014.