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[skey-lee] /ˈskeɪ li/
adjective, scalier, scaliest.
covered with or abounding in scales or scale.
characterized by or consisting of scales; scalelike.
peeling or flaking off in scales.
Slang. shabby; despicable.
Origin of scaly
1520-30; scale1 + -y1
Related forms
scaliness, noun
unscaly, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scaly
  • The main symptom is a growing bump that may have a rough, scaly surface and flat reddish patches.
  • The tracery of burst capillaries shines faintly through the scaly scarlet patches that cover the bloated, mottled cheeks.
  • The carving of the two scaly dragons on the seal is regarded by some as not being of the finest quality.
  • They knew that the dragon's scaly skin-as scaly as chain mail-was rife with bacteria too.
  • They have scaly skins that allows them to survive in arid environments.
  • Hair is not a smooth cylinder, hair has a scaly surface.
  • Birds are weird-feathered and scaly, hatched from eggs, hollow-boned reptiles with wings.
  • Their eyes are as pink as strawberry ice cream, and their scaly skin is snow white.
  • He will become a wild boar or a fierce tiger, a scaly dragon or lion with yellow mane.
  • It's essentially a chimera with a chicken's head and a scaly reptilian body.
British Dictionary definitions for scaly


adjective scalier, scaliest
resembling or covered in scales
peeling off in scales
Derived Forms
scaliness, 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 scaly

also scaley, late 14c., from scale (n.1) + -y (2). Related: Scaliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scaly in Medicine

scaly scal·y (skā'lē)

  1. Covered or partially covered with scales.

  2. Shedding scales or flakes; flaking.

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