adjective, skin·ni·er, skin·ni·est.

very lean or thin; emaciated: a skinny little kitten.
of or like skin.
unusually low or reduced; meager; minimal: skinny profits.
(of an object) narrow or slender: a skinny bed.


  1. accurate information; data; facts.
  2. news, especially if confidential; gossip: Here's the skinny on the latest Hollywood scandal.

Origin of skinny

1565–75; skin + -y1; def. 5 is unclearly derived and perhaps a distinct word
Related formsskin·ni·ness, noun

Synonyms for skinny Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skinny

Contemporary Examples of skinny

Historical Examples of skinny

  • When he approached a window you could see through his ribs, so skinny had he become.


    Emile Zola

  • How can you ever love such a skinny homely thing as I am now!

    The Straw

    Eugene O'Neill

  • But he wished that he might lay hands on that kid brother of Skinny's.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely

  • He clawed at the air with skinny fingers, and tried to speak.

    The Cryptogram

    William Murray Graydon

  • Terry, I always thought of you as being—sort of skinny, but you're as hard as nails.


    Charles Goff Thomson

British Dictionary definitions for skinny


adjective -nier or -niest

lacking in flesh; thin
consisting of or resembling skin
Derived Formsskinniness, 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 skinny

c.1400, "resembling skin," from skin (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "lean, emaciated" is recorded from c.1600. Of clothes, "tight-fitting" by 1970. In the noun sense of "the truth" it is World War II military slang, perhaps from the notion of the "naked" truth. Related: skinniness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper