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bare bones

plural noun
the irreducible minimum; the most essential components:
Reduce this report to its bare bones. There is nothing left of the town but the bare bones—a couple of stores, a church, and a few houses.
Origin of bare bones
Related forms
bare-bones, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bare bones
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And suddenly she uncovered her face—and what he beheld was a bare grinning skull set fast to the bare bones of a skeleton!

    Legends of the City of Mexico Thomas A. Janvier
  • The rest of the bare bones of the story I have already told you.

    Jaffery William J. Locke
  • A heavy blast of wind opened the branches and released Manabozho, who found that the wolves had left nothing but the bare bones.

    The Indian Fairy Book Cornelius Mathews
  • The big butter-nut-tree that stood up high and strong over the pump rattled its twigs in the air, as bare bones might rattle.

    The Mermaid Lily Dougall
  • Don't despair of reforming any man till you see the grass growing over his bare bones.

    The Romance of a Christmas Card Kate Douglas Wiggin
Idioms and Phrases with bare bones

bare bones

The mere essentials or plain, unadorned framework of something, as in This outline gives just the bare bones of the story; details will come later. This phrase transfers the naked skeleton of a body to figurative use. [ c. 1900 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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