adjective, scal·i·er, scal·i·est.

covered with or abounding in scales or scale.
characterized by or consisting of scales; scalelike.
peeling or flaking off in scales.
Slang. shabby; despicable.

Origin of scaly

First recorded in 1520–30; scale1 + -y1
Related formsscal·i·ness, nounun·scal·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scaly

Historical Examples of scaly

British Dictionary definitions for scaly


adjective scalier or scaliest

resembling or covered in scales
peeling off in scales
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for scaly




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