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adjective, skin·ni·er, skin·ni·est.
  1. very lean or thin; emaciated: a skinny little kitten.
  2. of or like skin.
  3. unusually low or reduced; meager; minimal: skinny profits.
  4. (of an object) narrow or slender: a skinny bed.
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  1. Slang.
    1. accurate information; data; facts.
    2. news, especially if confidential; gossip: Here's the skinny on the latest Hollywood scandal.
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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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for skinny

bony, lanky, gaunt, slender, scrawny, angular, spare, lean, emaciated, rawboned, underweight, lank, skeletal, twiggy, malnourished, scraggy, undernourished

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
  1. lacking in flesh; thin
  2. consisting of or resembling skin
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper