- 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.
verb (used with object), boned, bon·ing.
- 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.
- 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
- risqué or indecenthis jokes are rather close to the bone
- in poverty; destitute
- to be direct and candid about
- to have no scruples about
- to wish bad luck (on)
- to threaten to bring about the downfall (of)
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for bone
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.
feel in one's bones
Have an intuition or hunch about something, as in I'm sure he'll succeed—I can feel it in my bones. This expression alludes to the age-old notion that persons with a healed broken bone or with arthritis experience bone pain before rain, due to a drop in barometric pressure, and therefore can predict a weather change. [c. 1600]
In addition to the idioms beginning with bone
- bone of contention
- bone to pick, have a
- bone up
- 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