exoskeleton

[ek-soh-skel-i-tn]
noun Zoology.
an external covering or integument, especially when hard, as the shells of crustaceans (opposed to endoskeleton ).

Origin:
1840–50; exo- + skeleton

exoskeletal, adjective
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World English Dictionary
exoskeleton (ˌɛksəʊˈskɛlɪtən)
 
n
Compare endoskeleton the protective or supporting structure covering the outside of the body of many animals, such as the thick cuticle of arthropods
 
exo'skeletal
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

exoskeleton
1847, from exo- + skeleton. Introduced by Eng. anatomist Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

exoskeleton ex·o·skel·e·ton (ěk'sō-skěl'ĭ-tn)
n.

  1. All hard parts, such as hair, teeth, and nails, that develop from the ectoderm or mesoderm in vertebrates.

  2. A hard outer structure, such as the shell of an insect, that provides protection or support for an organism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
exoskeleton   (ěk'sō-skěl'ĭ-tn)  Pronunciation Key 
A hard, protective outer body covering of an animal, such as an insect, crustacean, or mollusk. The exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans are largely made of chitin. Compare endoskeleton.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

exoskeleton

rigid or articulated envelope that supports and protects the soft tissues of certain animals. The term includes the calcareous housings of sessile invertebrates such as clams but is most commonly applied to the chitinous integument of arthropods, such as insects, spiders, and crustaceans. The arthropod exoskeleton, formed from the epidermis, is composed of an outer waxy, water-resistant layer over chitinous horny and flexible layers. In terrestrial species this covering has small breathing holes (spiracles). By preventing dehydration the exoskeleton has allowed arthropods, especially insects, to invade most terrestrial habitats. The flexible joints in the exoskeleton of creatures such as the lobster allow great freedom of movement. An exoskeleton does not grow; it must be molted regularly and a new one secreted, at which time the animal is soft and vulnerable to both predators and environmental changes

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The bag is then placed within a cardboard box, which serves as a sort of
  exoskeleton protecting the bag.
Likewise, in colder years average exoskeleton thickness shrank.
Since their exoskeleton is not shed, molluscan shells must enlarge to
  accommodate body growth.
Once the parasite lands on a crab, it makes its way to a joint in the
  crustacean's exoskeleton.
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