[ bohn ]
See synonyms for: bonebonedbonesboning on

  1. Anatomy, Zoology.

    • one of the structures composing the skeleton of a vertebrate.

    • the hard connective tissue forming the substance of the skeleton of most vertebrates, composed of a collagen-rich organic matrix impregnated with calcium, phosphate, and other minerals.

  2. such a structure from an edible animal, usually with meat adhering to it, as an article of food: Pea soup should be made with a ham bone.

  1. any of various similarly hard or structural animal substances, as ivory or whalebone.

  2. something made of or resembling such a substance.

  3. a small concession, intended to pacify or quiet; a conciliatory bribe or gift: The administration threw the student protesters a couple of bones, but refused to make any basic changes in the curriculum or requirements.

  4. bones,

    • the skeleton.

    • a body: Let his bones rest in peace.

    • Games Slang. dice.

    • (initial capital letter) Mr. Bones.

    • a simple rhythm instrument consisting of two sometimes curved bars or short strips of bone, ivory, wood, or the like, held between the fingers of one hand and clacked together.

  5. the color of bone; ivory or off-white.

  6. a flat strip of whalebone or other material for stiffening corsets, petticoats, etc.; stay.

  7. Games Slang. a domino.

verb (used with object),boned, bon·ing.
  1. to remove the bones from: to bone a turkey.

  2. to put whalebone or another stiffener into (clothing).

  1. Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse with: He was boning his best friend's wife!

  2. Agriculture. to put bone meal into (feed, fertilizer, etc.).

  1. completely; absolutely: bone tired.

Idioms about bone

  1. bone up, Informal. to study intensely; cram: We're going to have to bone up for the exam.

  2. feel in one's bones, to think or feel intuitively: She felt in her bones that it was going to be a momentous day.

  1. have a bone to pick with someone, to have cause to disagree or argue with someone: The teacher had a bone to pick with him because his homework paper was identical with his neighbor's.

  2. make no bones about,

    • to deal with in a direct manner; act or speak openly: He makes no bones about his dislike of modern music.

    • to have no fear of or objection to.

  3. to the bone,

    • to the essentials; to the minimum: The government cut social service programs to the bone.

    • to an extreme degree; thoroughly: chilled to the bone.

Origin of bone

First recorded before 900; Middle English bo(o)n, Old English bān; cognate with Old Frisian, Old Saxon bēn, Dutch been “bone,” Old Norse bein “bone, leg,” German Bein “leg”; from Germanic bainam Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use bone in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bone (1 of 2)


/ (bəʊn) /

  1. any of the various structures that make up the skeleton in most vertebrates

  2. the porous rigid tissue of which these parts are made, consisting of a matrix of collagen and inorganic salts, esp calcium phosphate, interspersed with canals and small holes: Related adjectives: osseous, osteal

  1. something consisting of bone or a bonelike substance

  2. (plural) the human skeleton or body: they laid his bones to rest; come and rest your bones

  3. a thin strip of whalebone, light metal, plastic, etc, used to stiffen corsets and brassieres

  4. (plural) the essentials (esp in the phrase the bare bones): to explain the bones of a situation

  5. (plural) dice

  6. (plural) an informal nickname for a doctor

  7. close to the bone or near the bone

    • risqué or indecent: his jokes are rather close to the bone

    • in poverty; destitute

  8. feel in one's bones to have an intuition of

  9. have a bone to pick to have grounds for a quarrel

  10. make no bones about

    • to be direct and candid about

    • to have no scruples about

  11. point the bone (often foll by at) Australian

    • to wish bad luck (on)

    • to threaten to bring about the downfall (of)

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to remove the bones from (meat for cooking, etc)

  2. to stiffen (a corset, etc) by inserting bones

  1. to fertilize with bone meal

  2. taboo, slang to have sexual intercourse with

  3. British a slang word for steal

Origin of bone

Old English bān; related to Old Norse béin, Old Frisian bēn, Old High German bein

Derived forms of bone

  • boneless, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for Bône (2 of 2)


/ (French bon) /

  1. a former name of Annaba

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

Scientific definitions for bone


[ bōn ]

  1. The hard, dense, calcified tissue that forms the skeleton of most vertebrates, consisting of a matrix made up of collagen fibers and mineral salts. There are two main types of bone structure: compact, which is solid and hard, and cancellous, which is spongy in appearance. Bone serves as a framework for the attachment of muscles and protects vital organs, such as the brain, heart, and lungs. See more at osteoblast osteocyte.

  2. Any of the structures made of bone that constitute a skeleton, such as the femur. The human skeleton consists of 206 bones.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with bone


In addition to the idioms beginning with bone

  • bone of contention
  • bone to pick, have a
  • bone up

also see:

  • bare bones
  • chilled to the bone
  • cut to the bone
  • feel in one's bones
  • funny bone
  • make no bones about
  • pull a boner
  • roll the bones
  • skin and bones
  • work one's fingers to the bone

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