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wishbone

[wish-bohn]
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noun
  1. a forked bone, formed by the fusion of the two clavicles, in front of the breastbone in most birds; furcula.
  2. Football. an offensive formation in which the fullback is positioned directly behind the quarterback and the two halfbacks are positioned farther behind and to the left and right, respectively.
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Origin of wishbone

1850–55, Americanism; wish + bone; so called from the custom of pulling the furcula of a cooked fowl apart until it breaks, the person holding the longer (sometimes shorter) piece being granted a wish
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wishbone

Historical Examples

  • Her face was a regular oval, like the opening in a wishbone.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • She used to love to come to dinner at our house so she could have a wishbone.

    Mary Rose of Mifflin

    Frances R. Sterrett

  • In proportion as a man's backbone weakens his wishbone seems to develop.

    Dollars and Sense

    Col. Wm. C. Hunter

  • When he got the wishbone of the chicken all insisted that Lin and he pull it.

  • And say, folks, if any of you get a wishbone in your meat, will you save it for me?

    At the Little Brown House

    Ruth Alberta Brown


British Dictionary definitions for wishbone

wishbone

noun
  1. the V-shaped bone above the breastbone in most birds consisting of the fused clavicles; furcula
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Word Origin

C17: from the custom of two people breaking apart the bone after eating: the person with the longer part makes a wish
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 wishbone

n.

1860, from wish + bone (n.); so called from the custom of making a wish while pulling the bone in two with another person. The wishbone breaking custom dates to the early 17c., when the bone was a merrythought.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wishbone in Science

wishbone

[wĭshbōn′]
  1. The forked bone in front of the breastbone in most birds, consisting of the two collarbones partly fused together. It serves as a spring, capturing some of the energy during the downward stroke of the wings for release on the upward stroke.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.