He was like an anatomy—i.e. a mere skeleton, very thin, like one whose flesh had been anatomised or cut off. Shakespeare uses atomy as a synonym. Thus the hostess Quickly says to the Beadle : “Thou atomy, thou!” and Doll Tearsheet caps the phrase with, “Come, you thin thing; come, you rascal.” —2 Henry IV, v. 4.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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