Skel"e*ton (?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. (sc. ) a dried body, a mummy, fr. dried up, parched, to dry, dry up, parch.]

1. Anat. (a)

The bony and cartilaginous framework which supports the soft parts of a vertebrate animal.

[See Illust. of the Human Skeleton, in Appendix.] (b)

The more or less firm or hardened framework of an invertebrate animal.

⇒ In a wider sense, the skeleton includes the whole connective-tissue framework with the integument and its appendages. See Endoskeleton, and Exoskeleton.

2. Hence, figuratively: (a)

A very thin or lean person

. (b)

The framework of anything; the principal parts that support the rest, but without the appendages.

The great skeleton of the world. Sir M. Hale.


The heads and outline of a literary production, especially of a sermon



© Webster 1913.

Skel"e*ton, a.

Consisting of, or resembling, a skeleton; consisting merely of the framework or outlines; having only certain leading features of anything; as, a skeleton sermon; a skeleton crystal.

Skeleton bill, a bill or draft made out in blank as to the amount or payee, but signed by the acceptor. [Eng.] -- Skeleton key, a key with nearly the whole substance of the web filed away, to adapt it to avoid the wards of a lock; a master key; -- used for opening locks to which it has not been especially fitted. -- Skeleton leaf, a leaf from which the pulpy part has been removed by chemical means, the fibrous part alone remaining. -- Skeleton proof, a proof of a print or engraving, with the inscription outlined in hair strokes only, such proofs being taken before the engraving is finished. -- Skeleton regiment, a regiment which has its complement of officers, but in which there are few enlisted men. -- Skeleton shrimp Zool., a small crustacean of the genus Caprella. See Illust. under Laemodipoda.


© Webster 1913.