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See more synonyms for scaly on Thesaurus.com
adjective, scal·i·er, scal·i·est.
  1. covered with or abounding in scales or scale.
  2. characterized by or consisting of scales; scalelike.
  3. peeling or flaking off in scales.
  4. Slang. shabby; despicable.
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Origin of scaly

First recorded in 1520–30; scale1 + -y1
Related formsscal·i·ness, nounun·scal·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scaly

flaky, furfuraceous, lepidote, scabby

Examples from the Web for scaly

Historical Examples of scaly

  • The Armed-Fish has its name from its arms, and its scaly mail.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

  • The stems may not be scaly at the apex, often rosy when young.

  • The stem is quite short, tapering downward, dark green, scaly.

  • The stem is solid, slender, scaly, somewhat lighter than the pileus.

  • The stem is inclined to be scaly, thickened at the base, solid.

British Dictionary definitions for scaly


adjective scalier or scaliest
  1. resembling or covered in scales
  2. peeling off in scales
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Derived Formsscaliness, noun
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 scaly


also scaley, late 14c., from scale (n.1) + -y (2). Related: Scaliness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scaly in Medicine


  1. Covered or partially covered with scales.
  2. Shedding scales or flakes; flaking.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.