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bare bones

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plural noun
  1. the irreducible minimum; the most essential components: Reduce this report to its bare bones. There is nothing left of the town but the bare bones—a couple of stores, a church, and a few houses.

Origin of bare bones

First recorded in 1910–15
Related formsbare-bones, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for barebones

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He was a prominent member of the Barebones Parliament, but after its extinction ceased to exercise any political influence.

  • Barebones' Parliament, a body full of stiff-backed and fanatical Independents, soon proved too restive for its creator.

  • Your Barebones, and Hop-an'-jumps, and creatures of that vulgar herd, are quite out of my category.'

    Miss Elliot's Girls

    Mrs Mary Spring Corning

  • And old Father Murray is just the dearest old man ever was, and hasn't got a long, solemn face like Mr. Barebones.

    The Actress' Daughter

    May Agnes Fleming


Idioms and Phrases with barebones

bare bones

The mere essentials or plain, unadorned framework of something, as in This outline gives just the bare bones of the story; details will come later. This phrase transfers the naked skeleton of a body to figurative use. [c. 1900]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.