- the external covering or integument of an animal body, especially when soft and flexible.
- such an integument stripped from the body of an animal, especially a small animal; pelt: a beaver skin.
- the tanned or treated pelt or hide of an animal, especially when used in apparel and accessories; leather (usually used in combination): pigskin; calfskin.
- any integumentary covering, casing, outer coating, or surface layer, as an investing membrane, the rind or peel of fruit, or a film on liquid: a skin of thin ice; the aluminum skin of an airplane.
- the outermost layer of a pearl.
- the outermost layer of a diamond as found: often different in color and refraction from the inner part of the stone.
- the shell or ceiling of a hull.
- the outer, exposed part of a furled sail.
- Metallurgy. an outer layer of a metal piece having characteristics differing from those of the interior.
- a container made of animal skin, used for holding liquids, especially wine.
- Slang. condom.
- skins, Slang. drums.
- Slang. a swindler; cheat.
- Slang. a skinflint.
- Slang. a horse.
- Slang. a dollar bill.
- Rocketry. the outer surface of a missile or rocket.
- to strip or deprive of skin; flay; peel; husk.
- to remove or strip off (any covering, outer coating, surface layer, etc.).
- to scrape or rub a small piece of skin from (one's hand, leg, etc.), as in falling or sliding against something: She skinned her knee.
- to urge on, drive, or whip (a draft animal, as a mule or ox).
- to climb or jump: He skinned the rope to the top of the wall.
- to cover with or as if with skin.
- Slang. to strip of money or belongings; fleece, as in gambling.
- Cards. to slide cards one at a time off the top of (the pack) in dealing.
- Slang. to defeat completely: skinned at the polls.
- Slang. to castigate; reprimand: skinned for his disobedience.
- Slang. to slip off or depart hurriedly (often followed by out).
- Slang.showing or featuring nude persons, often in a sexually explicit way: a skin magazine.
- presenting films, stage shows, exhibitions, etc., that feature nude persons, especially in a sexually explicit way: a Times Square skin house.
- by the skin of one's teeth, Informal. by an extremely narrow margin; just barely; scarcely: We made the last train by the skin of our teeth.
- get under one's skin, Slang.
- to irritate; bother: His laugh really gets under my skin.
- to affect deeply; impress; penetrate: That sort of music always gets under my skin.
- have a thick skin, to be insensitive to criticism or rebuffs: The complaint desk is a job for someone who has a thick skin.
- have a thin skin, to be extremely sensitive to criticism or rebuffs; be easily offended: Be careful what you say to me, I have a thin skin.
- in/with a whole skin, without harm; unscathed; safely: She escaped from the burning building with a whole skin.
- no skin off one's back/nose/teeth, Slang. of no interest or concern or involving no risk to one.
- save one's skin, Informal. to avoid harm, especially to escape death: They betrayed their country to save their skins.
- skin alive, Informal.
- to reprimand; scold.
- to subdue completely, especially in a cruel or ruthless manner: The home team was skinned alive this afternoon.
- under the skin, in essence; fundamentally; despite appearances or differences: sisters under the skin.
Origin of skin
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- (in most vertebrates) one of the hard bodies or processes usually attached in a row to each jaw, serving for the prehension and mastication of food, as weapons of attack or defense, etc., and in mammals typically composed chiefly of dentin surrounding a sensitive pulp and covered on the crown with enamel.
- (in invertebrates) any of various similar or analogous processes occurring in the mouth or alimentary canal, or on a shell.
- any projection resembling or suggesting a tooth.
- one of the projections of a comb, rake, saw, etc.
- any of the uniform projections on a gear or rack by which it drives, or is driven by, a gear, rack, or worm.
- any of the uniform projections on a sprocket by which it drives or is driven by a chain.
- any small, toothlike marginal lobe.
- one of the toothlike divisions of the peristome of mosses.
- a sharp, distressing, or destructive attribute or agency.
- taste, relish, or liking.
- a surface, as on a grinding wheel or sharpening stone, slightly roughened so as to increase friction with another part.
- a rough surface created on a paper made for charcoal drawing, watercolor, or the like, or on canvas for oil painting.
- to furnish with teeth.
- to cut teeth upon.
- to interlock, as cogwheels.
- by the skin of one's teeth, barely: He got away by the skin of his teeth.
- cast/throw in someone's teeth, to reproach someone for (an action): History will ever throw this blunder in his teeth.
- cut one's teeth on, to do at the beginning of one's education, career, etc., or in one's youth: The hunter boasted of having cut his teeth on tigers.
- in the teeth of,
- so as to face or confront; straight into or against: in the teeth of the wind.
- in defiance of; in opposition to: She maintained her stand in the teeth of public opinion.
- long in the tooth, old; elderly.
- put teeth in/into, to establish or increase the effectiveness of: to put teeth into the law.
- set one's teeth, to become resolute; prepare for difficulty: He set his teeth and separated the combatants.
- set/put one's teeth on edge,
- to induce an unpleasant sensation.
- to repel; irritate: The noise of the machines sets my teeth on edge.
- show one's teeth, to become hostile or threatening; exhibit anger: Usually friendly, she suddenly began to show her teeth.
- to the teeth, entirely; fully: armed to the teeth; dressed to the teeth in furs.
Origin of tooth
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Related Wordsstrictly, hard, jointly, intimately, sharply, scrupulously, intently, firmly, meticulously, nearly, exactly, similarly, mindfully, minutely, punctiliously, searchingly
- the tissue forming the outer covering of the vertebrate body: it consists of two layers (the dermis and epidermis), the outermost of which may be covered with hair, scales, feathers, etc. It is mainly protective and sensory in function
- (as modifier)a skin disease See also dermis, epidermis Related adjectives: cutaneous, dermatoid
- a person's complexiona fair skin
- any similar covering in a plant or lower animal
- any coating or film, such as one that forms on the surface of a liquid
- unsplit leather made from the outer covering of various mammals, reptiles, etcCompare hide 2 (def. 1)
- the outer covering of a fur-bearing animal, dressed and finished with the hair on
- a container made from animal skin
- the outer covering surface of a vessel, rocket, etc
- a person's skin regarded as his lifeto save one's skin
- (often plural) informal (in jazz or pop use) a drum
- informal short for skinhead
- slang a cigarette paper used for rolling a cannabis cigarette
- Irish slang a person; sorthe's a good old skin
- by the skin of one's teeth by a narrow margin; only just
- get under one's skin informal to irritate one
- jump out of one's skin to be very startled
- no skin off one's nose informal not a matter that affects one adversely
- skin and bone extremely thin
- thick skin an insensitive nature
- thin skin a sensitive nature
- (tr) to remove the outer covering from (fruit, etc)
- (tr) to scrape a small piece of skin from (a part of oneself) in falling, etche skinned his knee
- (often foll by over) to cover (something) with skin or a skinlike substance or (of something) to become covered in this way
- (tr) slang to strip of money; swindle
- relating to or for the skinskin cream
- slang, mainly US involving or depicting nudityskin magazines
- any of various bonelike structures set in the jaws of most vertebrates and modified, according to the species, for biting, tearing, or chewingRelated adjective: dental
- any of various similar structures in invertebrates, occurring in the mouth or alimentary canal
- anything resembling a tooth in shape, prominence, or functionthe tooth of a comb
- any of the various small indentations occurring on the margin of a leaf, petal, etc
- any one of a number of uniform projections on a gear, sprocket, rack, etc, by which drive is transmitted
- taste or appetite (esp in the phrase sweet tooth)
- long in the tooth old or ageing: used originally of horses, because their gums recede with age
- tooth and nail with ferocity and forcewe fought tooth and nail
- (tr) to provide with a tooth or teeth
- (intr) (of two gearwheels) to engage
Word Origin and History for by the skin of one's teeth
Old English toð (plural teð), from Proto-Germanic *tanth, *tunth (cf. Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Dutch tand, Old Norse tönn, Old Frisian toth, Old High German zand, German Zahn, Gothic tunþus), from PIE *dont-/*dent- "tooth" (cf. Sanskrit danta, Greek odontos, Latin dens, Lithuanian dantis, Old Irish det, Welsh dent). Plural form teeth is an instance of i-mutation. Application to tooth-like parts of other objects (saws, combs, etc.) first recorded 1520s.
c.1200, "animal hide" (usually dressed and tanned), from Old Norse skinn "animal hide, fur," from Proto-Germanic *skintha- (cf. Old English scinn (rare), Old High German scinten, German schinden "to flay, skin;" German dialectal schind "skin of a fruit," Flemish schinde "bark"), from PIE *sken- "to cut off" (cf. Breton scant "scale of a fish," Irish scainim "I tear, I burst"), from root *sek- "to cut" (see section (n.)).
Ful of fleissche Y was to fele, Now ... Me is lefte But skyn & boon. [hymn, c.1430]
The usual Anglo-Saxon word is hide (n.1). Meaning "epidermis of a living animal or person" is attested from early 14c.; extended to fruits, vegetables, etc. late 14c. Jazz slang sense of "drum" is from 1927. Meaning "a skinhead" is from 1970. As an adjective, it formerly had a slang sense of "cheating" (1868); sense of "pornographic" is attested from 1968. Skin deep is first attested in this:
All the carnall beauty of my wife, Is but skin-deep. [Sir Thomas Overbury, "A Wife," 1613; the poem was a main motive for his murder]
The skin of one's teeth as the narrowest of margins is attested from 1550s in the Geneva Bible literal translation of the Hebrew text in Job xix:20. To get under (someone's) skin "annoy" is from 1896. Skin-graft is from 1871. Skin merchant "recruiting officer" is from 1792.
late 14c., "to remove the skin from" (originally of circumcision), from skin (n.). As "to have (a particular kind of) skin" from c.1400. In 19c. U.S. colloquial use, "to strip, fleece, plunder;" hence skin-game, one in which one player has no chance against the others (as with a stacked deck), the type of con game played in a skin-house. Skin the cat in gymnastics is from 1845. Related: Skinned; skinning.
- The membranous tissue forming an external protective covering or integument of an animal and consisting of the epidermis and dermis.
- To bruise, cut, or injure the skin of.
- One of a set of hard, bonelike structures rooted in sockets in the jaws of vertebrates, typically composed of a core of soft pulp surrounded by a layer of hard dentin that is coated with cement or enamel at the crown and used chiefly for biting or chewing food or as a means of attack or defense.
- The outer covering of a vertebrate animal, consisting of two layers of cells, a thick inner layer (the dermis) and a thin outer layer (the epidermis). Structures such as hair, scales, or feathers are contained in the skin, as are fat cells, sweat glands, and sensory receptors. Skin provides a protective barrier against disease-causing microorganisms and against the sun's ultraviolet rays. In warm-blooded animals, it aids in temperature regulation, as by insulating against the cold.
- Any of the hard bony structures in the mouth used to grasp and chew food and as weapons of attack and defense. In mammals and many other vertebrates, the teeth are set in sockets in the jaw. In fish and amphibians, they grow in and around the palate. See also dentition.
- A similar structure in certain invertebrate animals.
The external tissue that covers the body. As the body's largest organ (it makes up about one twenty-fifth of an adult's weight), the skin serves as a waterproof covering that helps keep out pathogens and protects against temperature extremes and sunlight. The skin also contains special nerve endings that respond to touch, pressure, heat, and cold. The skin has an outer layer, or epidermis, and a layer immediately below, called the dermis.
A hard structure, embedded in the jaws of the mouth, that functions in chewing. The tooth consists of a crown, covered with hard white enamel; a root, which anchors the tooth to the jawbone; and a “neck” between the crown and the root, covered by the gum. Most of the tooth is made up of dentin, which is located directly below the enamel. The soft interior of the tooth, the pulp, contains nerves and blood vessels. Humans have molars for grinding food, incisors for cutting, and canines and bicuspids for tearing.
Idioms and Phrases with by the skin of one's teeth
by the skin of one's teeth
Just barely, very narrowly, as in Doug passed the exam by the skin of his teeth. A related term appears in the Bible (Job 19:20), where Job says, “I am escaped with the skin of my teeth,” presumably meaning he got away with nothing at all. Today the phrase using by is used most often to describe a narrow escape. [c. 1600] Also see squeak through.
In addition to the idioms beginning with skin
- skin alive
- skin and bones
- skin deep
- skin off one's nose
- skin of one's teeth
- beauty is only skin deep
- by the skin of one's teeth
- get under someone's skin
- jump out of one's skin
- make one's flesh creep (skin crawl)
- more than one way to skin a cat
- no skin off one's nose
- save one's bacon (skin)
- soaked to the skin
- thick skin
In addition to the idiom beginning with tooth
- tooth fairy
- fight tooth and nail
- fine-tooth comb
- long in the tooth
- sweet tooth
Also see underteeth.