a bone containing edible marrow.
marrowbones, Facetious. the knees.

Origin of marrowbone

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at marrow1, bone Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for marrowbones

Historical Examples of marrowbones

  • O, madam, down upon your knees, your marrowbones——he's one of them.

    The Beaux-Stratagem

    George Farquhar

  • It consisted of a large platter of dried meat, reindeer tongues (considered a great delicacy), and marrowbones.

    The Young Fur Traders

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • We took as usual its tongue, marrowbones, and loins, and left the rest to those that came after us.

  • The Cleaver seems also to be in compliment to this profession, as well as the Marrowbones and Cleaver.

  • The town might follow us to church with a serenade of marrowbones and cleavers, as they do the butchers.

British Dictionary definitions for marrowbones


pl n

facetious the knees
a rare word for crossbones See skull and crossbones



  1. a bone containing edible marrow
  2. (as modifier)marrowbone jelly
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 marrowbones



late 14c., from marrow + bone (n.). A poetic Old English word for "bone" was mearhcofa "marrow-chamber."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper