skeleton at feast


Anatomy, Zoology. the bones of a human or an animal considered as a whole, together forming the framework of the body.
any of various structures forming a rigid framework in an invertebrate.
an emaciated person or animal.
a supporting framework, as of a leaf, building, or ship.
an outline, as of a literary work: the skeleton of the plot.
something reduced to its essential parts.
of or pertaining to a skeleton.
like or being a mere framework; reduced to the essential or minimal parts or numbers: a skeleton staff.
skeleton at the feast, a person or thing that casts gloom over a joyful occasion; a note or reminder of sorrow in the midst of joy.
skeleton in the closet/cupboard,
a family scandal that is concealed to avoid public disgrace.
any embarrassing, shameful, or damaging secret.

1570–80; < Neo-Latin < Greek: mummy, noun use of neuter of skeletós dried up, verbid of skéllein to dry

skeletonless, adjective
skeletonlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
skeleton (ˈskɛlɪtən)
1.  endoskeleton See also exoskeleton a hard framework consisting of inorganic material that supports and protects the soft parts of an animal's body and provides attachment for muscles: may be internal (an endoskeleton), as in vertebrates, or external( an exoskeleton), as in arthropods
2.  informal a very thin emaciated person or animal
3.  the essential framework of any structure, such as a building or leaf, that supports or determines the shape of the rest of the structure
4.  an outline consisting of bare essentials: the skeleton of a novel
5.  (US), (Canadian) (modifier) reduced to a minimum: a skeleton staff
6.  skeleton in the cupboard, skeleton in the closet a scandalous fact or event in the past that is kept secret
[C16: via New Latin from Greek: something desiccated, from skellein to dry up]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1578, from Mod.L. sceleton "bones, bony framework of the body," from Gk. skeleton soma "dried-up body, mummy," from neut. of skeletos "dried-up," from skellein "dry up," from PIE base *skele- "to parch, whither" (cf. Gk. skleros "hard"). The Gk. word was borrowed in L.L. (sceletus), hence Fr. squelette,
Sp. esqueleto, It. scheletro. The meaning "bare outline" is first recorded 1607; hence skeleton crew (1778), skeleton key, etc. Phrase skeleton in the closet "source of secret shame to a person or family" popularized 1845 by Thackeray, though he likely didn't coin it.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

skeleton skel·e·ton (skěl'ĭ-tn)

  1. The internal structure composed of bone and cartilage that protects and supports the soft organs, tissues, and other parts of a vertebrate organism; endoskeleton.

  2. All the bones of the body taken collectively.

  3. The exoskeleton.

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
skeleton  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (skěl'ĭ-tn)  Pronunciation Key 

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  1. The internal structure of vertebrate animals, composed of bone or cartilage, that supports the body, serves as a framework for the attachment of muscles, and protects the vital organs and associated structures.

  2. A hard protective covering or supporting structure of invertebrate animals. See also endoskeleton, exoskeleton.

skeletal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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