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[boh-nee] /ˈboʊ ni/
adjective, bonier, boniest.
of or like bone.
full of bones.
having prominent bones; big-boned.
skinny; emaciated.
Origin of bony
First recorded in 1350-1400, bony is from the Middle English word boni. See bone, -y1
Related forms
boniness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bony
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He closed his great, bony fist in unspeakable agony at the thought.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • I am lean and bony and I've got a beak where I should have a nose.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • I looked in vain for the hands and feet of my ideal, large and bony.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • He was small and thin, with a bony face, already wrinkled at twenty-seven.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • He is a huge, bony Irishman, and somewhat restless in his sleep.

    Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2) William Delisle Hay
British Dictionary definitions for bony


adjective bonier, boniest
resembling or consisting of bone or bones
having many bones
having prominent bones: bony cheeks
thin or emaciated: a bony old woman
Derived Forms
boniness, 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 bony

late 14c., from bone (n.) + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bony in Medicine

bony bon·y or bon·ey (bō'nē)
adj. bon·i·er or bon·ey·er, bon·i·est or bon·ey·est

  1. Of, relating to, resembling, or consisting of bone.

  2. Having an internal skeleton of bones.

  3. Having prominent or protruding bones.

  4. Lean; scrawny.

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