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[skel-i-tl] /ˈskɛl ɪ tl/
of, relating to, or like a skeleton.
Origin of skeletal
First recorded in 1850-55; skelet(on) + -al1
Related forms
skeletally, adverb
nonskeletal, adjective
nonskeletally, adverb
pseudoskeletal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for skeletal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All skeletal formations belong to one or other of these systems.

    Form and Function E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell
  • We decide, then, to keep the skull as part of the skeletal foundation.

    Practical Taxidermy Montagu Browne
  • There may have been some differences in the skeletal and muscular structure.

    Man And His Ancestor Charles Morris
  • We cannot accept the skeletal formation as a fundamental structure of the plasm.

    The Wonders of Life Ernst Haeckel
  • The skeletal structures found in Balanoglossus are all endoskeletal.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton Sidney H. Reynolds
Word Origin and History for skeletal

1849, from skeleton + -al (1). Related: Skeletally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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skeletal in Science

  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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