- the outermost layer of a pearl.
- the outermost layer of a diamond as found: often different in color and refraction from the inner part of the stone.
- the shell or ceiling of a hull.
- the outer, exposed part of a furled sail.
verb (used with object), skinned, skin·ning.
verb (used without object), skinned, skin·ning.
- Slang.showing or featuring nude persons, often in a sexually explicit way: a skin magazine.
- presenting films, stage shows, exhibitions, etc., that feature nude persons, especially in a sexually explicit way: a Times Square skin house.
- to irritate; bother: His laugh really gets under my skin.
- to affect deeply; impress; penetrate: That sort of music always gets under my skin.
- to reprimand; scold.
- to subdue completely, especially in a cruel or ruthless manner: The home team was skinned alive this afternoon.
Origin of skin
Synonyms for skin
Related Words for skin aliveassail, contravene, tar, evaluate, study, inspect, assess, examine, discuss, revise, revile, decry, smear, denounce, defame, berate, malign, damn, denigrate, mistreat
- the tissue forming the outer covering of the vertebrate body: it consists of two layers (the dermis and epidermis), the outermost of which may be covered with hair, scales, feathers, etc. It is mainly protective and sensory in function
- (as modifier)a skin disease See also dermis, epidermis Related adjectives: cutaneous, dermatoid
verb skins, skinning or skinned
Word Origin for skin
c.1200, "animal hide" (usually dressed and tanned), from Old Norse skinn "animal hide, fur," from Proto-Germanic *skintha- (cf. Old English scinn (rare), Old High German scinten, German schinden "to flay, skin;" German dialectal schind "skin of a fruit," Flemish schinde "bark"), from PIE *sken- "to cut off" (cf. Breton scant "scale of a fish," Irish scainim "I tear, I burst"), from root *sek- "to cut" (see section (n.)).
Ful of fleissche Y was to fele, Now ... Me is lefte But skyn & boon. [hymn, c.1430]
The usual Anglo-Saxon word is hide (n.1). Meaning "epidermis of a living animal or person" is attested from early 14c.; extended to fruits, vegetables, etc. late 14c. Jazz slang sense of "drum" is from 1927. Meaning "a skinhead" is from 1970. As an adjective, it formerly had a slang sense of "cheating" (1868); sense of "pornographic" is attested from 1968. Skin deep is first attested in this:
All the carnall beauty of my wife, Is but skin-deep. [Sir Thomas Overbury, "A Wife," 1613; the poem was a main motive for his murder]
The skin of one's teeth as the narrowest of margins is attested from 1550s in the Geneva Bible literal translation of the Hebrew text in Job xix:20. To get under (someone's) skin "annoy" is from 1896. Skin-graft is from 1871. Skin merchant "recruiting officer" is from 1792.
late 14c., "to remove the skin from" (originally of circumcision), from skin (n.). As "to have (a particular kind of) skin" from c.1400. In 19c. U.S. colloquial use, "to strip, fleece, plunder;" hence skin-game, one in which one player has no chance against the others (as with a stacked deck), the type of con game played in a skin-house. Skin the cat in gymnastics is from 1845. Related: Skinned; skinning.
The external tissue that covers the body. As the body's largest organ (it makes up about one twenty-fifth of an adult's weight), the skin serves as a waterproof covering that helps keep out pathogens and protects against temperature extremes and sunlight. The skin also contains special nerve endings that respond to touch, pressure, heat, and cold. The skin has an outer layer, or epidermis, and a layer immediately below, called the dermis.
Punish severely, as in If I find the guy who slashed my tire I'll skin him alive. This hyperbolic expression transfers the barbaric practice of flaying a live prisoner to other forms of punishment. [Colloquial mid-1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with skin
- skin alive
- skin and bones
- skin deep
- skin off one's nose
- skin of one's teeth
- beauty is only skin deep
- by the skin of one's teeth
- get under someone's skin
- jump out of one's skin
- make one's flesh creep (skin crawl)
- more than one way to skin a cat
- no skin off one's nose
- save one's bacon (skin)
- soaked to the skin
- thick skin