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[mar-oh-bohn] /ˈmær oʊˌboʊn/
a bone containing edible marrow.
marrowbones, Facetious. the knees.
Origin of marrowbone
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at marrow1, bone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for marrowbones
Historical Examples
  • O, madam, down upon your knees, your marrowbones——he's one of them.

    The Beaux-Stratagem George Farquhar
  • It consisted of a large platter of dried meat, reindeer tongues (considered a great delicacy), and marrowbones.

    The Young Fur Traders R.M. Ballantyne
  • We took as usual its tongue, marrowbones, and loins, and left the rest to those that came after us.

  • The Cleaver seems also to be in compliment to this profession, as well as the marrowbones and Cleaver.

  • The town might follow us to church with a serenade of marrowbones and cleavers, as they do the butchers.

  • Then there arrived the butchers, with their marrowbones and cleavers, and began to make their music with zeal.

    The Lady of Lynn

    Walter Besant
  • Then they would all to a man have gone down on their marrowbones to him to come back when he had recovered his senses.

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for marrowbones


plural noun
(facetious) the knees
a rare word for crossbones See skull and crossbones


  1. a bone containing edible marrow
  2. (as modifier): marrowbone jelly
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 marrowbones



late 14c., from marrow + bone (n.). A poetic Old English word for "bone" was mearhcofa "marrow-chamber."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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