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[boh-nee] /ˈboʊ ni/
adjective, bonier, boniest.
of or like bone.
full of bones.
having prominent bones; big-boned.
skinny; emaciated.
Origin of bony
1350-1400; Middle English boni. See bone, -y1
Related forms
boniness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bony
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The next morning, about four o'clock, me and Swatty and bony went down to see the circus unload.

    Swatty Ellis Parker Butler
  • He closed his great, bony fist in unspeakable agony at the thought.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Fischelowitz smiled with uncommon cheerfulness as he grasped the bony fingers heartily.

    A Cigarette-Maker's Romance F. Marion Crawford
  • I looked in vain for the hands and feet of my ideal, large and bony.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • And sometimes it actually seemed to the captain himself as though there were something uncanny about that overgrown, bony figure.

    Men in War Andreas Latzko
British Dictionary definitions for bony


adjective bonier, boniest
resembling or consisting of bone or bones
having many bones
having prominent bones: bony cheeks
thin or emaciated: a bony old woman
Derived Forms
boniness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bony

late 14c., from bone (n.) + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bony in Medicine

bony bon·y or bon·ey (bō'nē)
adj. bon·i·er or bon·ey·er, bon·i·est or bon·ey·est

  1. Of, relating to, resembling, or consisting of bone.

  2. Having an internal skeleton of bones.

  3. Having prominent or protruding bones.

  4. Lean; scrawny.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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