noun Zoology.

an external covering or integument, especially when hard, as the shells of crustaceans (opposed to endoskeleton).

Origin of exoskeleton

First recorded in 1840–50; exo- + skeleton
Related formsex·o·skel·e·tal, adjective
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British Dictionary definitions for exoskeleton



the protective or supporting structure covering the outside of the body of many animals, such as the thick cuticle of arthropodsCompare endoskeleton
Derived Formsexoskeletal, adjective
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 exoskeleton

1847, from exo- + skeleton. Introduced by English anatomist Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for exoskeleton




All hard parts, such as hair, teeth, and nails, that develop from the ectoderm or mesoderm in vertebrates.
A hard outer structure, such as the shell of an insect, that provides protection or support for an organism.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for exoskeleton



A hard, protective outer body covering of an animal, such as an insect, crustacean, or mollusk. The exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans are largely made of chitin. Compare endoskeleton.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.