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
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