of, relating to, or like a skeleton.

Origin of skeletal

First recorded in 1850–55; skelet(on) + -al1
Related formsskel·e·tal·ly, adverbnon·skel·e·tal, adjectivenon·skel·e·tal·ly, adverbpseu·do·skel·e·tal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skeletal

Contemporary Examples of skeletal

Historical Examples of skeletal

  • All skeletal formations belong to one or other of these systems.

    Form and Function

    E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

  • We decide, then, to keep the skull as part of the skeletal foundation.

    Practical Taxidermy

    Montagu Browne

  • There may have been some differences in the skeletal and muscular structure.

    Man And His Ancestor

    Charles Morris

  • We cannot accept the skeletal formation as a fundamental structure of the plasm.

    The Wonders of Life

    Ernst Haeckel

  • The skeletal structures found in Balanoglossus are all endoskeletal.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

Word Origin and History for skeletal

1849, from skeleton + -al (1). Related: Skeletally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

skeletal in Science



The internal structure of vertebrate animals, composed of bone or cartilage, that supports the body, serves as a framework for the attachment of muscles, and protects the vital organs and associated structures.
A hard protective covering or supporting structure of invertebrate animals. See also endoskeleton exoskeleton.
Related formsskeletal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.