verb (used with object), boned, bon·ing.


completely; absolutely: bone tired.


    bone up, Informal. to study intensely; cram: We're going to have to bone up for the exam.
    feel in one's bones, to think or feel intuitively: She felt in her bones that it was going to be a momentous day.
    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.
    make no bones about,
    1. to deal with in a direct manner; act or speak openly: He makes no bones about his dislike of modern music.
    2. to have no fear of or objection to.
    to the bone,
    1. to the essentials; to the minimum: The government cut social service programs to the bone.
    2. to an extreme degree; thoroughly: chilled to the bone.

Origin of bone

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 (-bein bone, in compounds); < Germanic *bainan (neuter), probably orig. past participle (compare Old Irish benaid (he) hews), meaning “lopped off,” from butchering of animals; orig. in phrase *bainan astan lopped-off bone or branch (hence, “leg,” as a branch of the body); replacing *astan bone < Indo-European *Host- (> Latin os(s), Albanian asht, Avestan ast-, Hittite hast-ai), which fell together in Gmc with *astaz branch (> German Ast) < Indo-European *osdos (> Greek ózos, Armenian ost) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boning

Contemporary Examples of boning

Historical Examples of boning

  • The work of boning is not difficult, but it requires practice.

  • "Come up to my room whenever you can, and help me with my boning," he added.

    The Trail of the Hawk

    Sinclair Lewis

  • The following process of boning, however, applies to all birds.

    Choice Cookery

    Catherine Owen

  • They were walking up and down the campus "boning" furiously.

    At Good Old Siwash

    George Fitch

  • No boning to do, and we can slip away with some eats on the side and have a grub-fest.

British Dictionary definitions for boning



a former name of Annaba



any of the various structures that make up the skeleton in most vertebrates
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 holesRelated adjectives: osseous, osteal
something consisting of bone or a bonelike substance
(plural) the human skeleton or bodythey laid his bones to rest; come and rest your bones
a thin strip of whalebone, light metal, plastic, etc, used to stiffen corsets and brassieres
(plural) the essentials (esp in the phrase the bare bones)to explain the bones of a situation
(plural) dice
(plural) an informal nickname for a doctor
close to the bone or near the bone
  1. risqué or indecenthis jokes are rather close to the bone
  2. in poverty; destitute
feel in one's bones to have an intuition of
have a bone to pick to have grounds for a quarrel
make no bones about
  1. to be direct and candid about
  2. to have no scruples about
point the bone (often foll by at) Australian
  1. to wish bad luck (on)
  2. to threaten to bring about the downfall (of)

verb (mainly tr)

to remove the bones from (meat for cooking, etc)
to stiffen (a corset, etc) by inserting bones
to fertilize with bone meal
taboo, slang to have sexual intercourse with
British a slang word for steal
See also bone up
Derived Formsboneless, adjective

Word Origin for bone

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

Word Origin and History for boning



Old English ban "bone, tusk," from Proto-Germanic *bainam (cf. Old Frisian ben, Old Norse bein, Danish ben, German Bein). No cognates outside Germanic (the common PIE root is *os-; see osseous); the Norse, Dutch, and German cognates also mean "shank of the leg," and this is the main meaning in Modern German, but English never seems to have had this sense.



especially in bone up "study," 1880s student slang, probably from "Bohn's Classical Library," a popular series in higher education published by German-born English publisher Henry George Bohn (1796-1884) as part of a broad series of "libraries" he issued from 1846, totaling 766 volumes, continued after 1864 by G. Bell & Sons.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

boning in Medicine




The dense, semirigid, porous, calcified connective tissue forming the major portion of the skeleton of most vertebrates, consisting of a dense organic matrix and an inorganic, mineral component.
Any of the more than 200 anatomically distinct structures making up the human skeleton.
A piece of bone.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

boning in Science



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.
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.

Idioms and Phrases with boning


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.