Meaning of skeleton


Pronunciation: (skel'i-tn), [key]
— n.
  1. the bones of a human or an animal considered as a whole, together forming the framework of the body.
  2. any of various structures forming a rigid framework in an invertebrate.
  3. an emaciated person or animal.
  4. a supporting framework, as of a leaf, building, or ship.
  5. an outline, as of a literary work: the skeleton of the plot.
  6. something reduced to its essential parts.
  7. a person or thing that casts gloom over a joyful occasion; a note or reminder of sorrow in the midst of joy.
    1. a family scandal that is concealed to avoid public disgrace.
    2. any embarrassing, shameful, or damaging secret.
  1. of or pertaining to a skeleton.
  2. like or being a mere framework; reduced to the essential or minimal parts or numbers: a skeleton staff.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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