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a. The dense, semirigid, porous, calcified connective tissue forming the major portion of the skeleton of most vertebrates. It consists of a dense organic matrix and an inorganic, mineral component.
b. Any of numerous anatomically distinct structures making up the skeleton of a vertebrate animal. There are more than 200 different bones in the human body.
c. A piece of bone.
2. bones
a. The skeleton.
b. The body: These old bones don't do much dancing anymore.
c. Mortal remains: His bones are buried up on the hill.
3. An animal structure or material, such as ivory, resembling bone.
4. Something made of bone or of material resembling bone, especially:
a. A piece of whalebone or similar material used as a corset stay.
b. bones Informal Dice.
5. bones The fundamental plan or design, as of the plot of a book.
a. bones Flat clappers made of bone or wood originally used by the end man in a minstrel show.
b. Bones(used with a sing. verb) The end man in a minstrel show.
7. Vulgar Slang The penis.
v. boned, bon·ing, bones
1. To remove the bones from: bone a fish.
2. To stiffen (a piece of clothing) with stays, as of whalebone.
3. Vulgar Slang To have sexual intercourse with. Used especially of a man.
Vulgar Slang To have sexual intercourse.
Phrasal Verb:
bone up
Informal To study, often in preparation for an anticipated event: boned up for the final exam.
bone of contention
The subject of a dispute.
bone to pick
Grounds for a complaint or dispute.
in (one's) bones
In one's innermost feelings: knew in my bones that I was wrong.
to the bone
To an extreme degree: was chilled to the bone; cut the budget to the bone.

[Middle English bon, from Old English bān.]


See also anatomy; body, human.

Medicine. a disease resulting from abnormal activity of the pituitary gland in which bones of the extremities are enlarged. — acromegalic, adj.
1. a branch of medical science that studies fractures.
2. a treatise on fractures.
Obsolete, a skeleton.
the breaking of a bone into small pieces.
organic change into a hornlike form.
the science of skull description. — craniographer, n.craniographic, craniographical, adj.
the shaft section of a long bone. — diaphytical, adj.
a joint or articulation, as that at the knee, which allows maximum movement.
an abnormal calcareous growth on a bone or tooth. See also plants.
an abnormal physical condition characterized by extensive structural defects of the skeleton and by gross mental deficiency.
an immovable joint, the bone being fixed in its socket in such a way that it does not move.
any abnormal curvature of the bones, especially forward curvature of the spine, resulting in a hollow in the back. — lordotic, adj.
1. the act of dislocating a bone or putting a joint out of position.
2. the condition of dislocation or being out of joint.
a place or receptacle for the bones of the dead. See also death.
the breaking of a bone either to correct a deformity or to reset a bone that has healed badly after a fracture. See also bodily functions.
the study of bones for descriptive purposes. — osteographer, n.osteographic, osteographical, adj.
the branch of anatomy that studies the skeleton. Also called skeletology.osteologist, osteologer, n.osteologie, osteological, adj.
softening of the bones resulting from malnutrition and the consequent loss of essential salts from the bones.
divination by the examination of bones. — osteomantic, adj.
the measurement of bones.
1. study of diseases of the bones.
2. any disease of the bone. — osteopathologist, n.osteopathologic, osteopathological, adj.
1. a disease of the bone.
2. a therapeutic system based upon the premise that restoring or maintaining health requires manipulation of the skeleton and muscles to preserve normal structure. — osteopath, osteopathist, n.osteopathie, adj.
the surgical practice of bone-grafting.
the rarefaction of bone, resulting in abnormally porous and weak bony tissue.
1. the dissection or anatomy of bones.
2. the cutting of bones as part of a surgical operation. — osteotomist, n.
ossification or the process of bone formation.
a form of divination in which a shoulder blade is heated in a fire and the resulting cracks in the bone are consulted for omens. — scapulomantic, adj.
the study of jawbones. — siagonologic, siagonological, adj.
a form of divination by means of an animal’s shoulder blade. — spatulamantic, adj.
the growing together or the fixed or almost fixed union of two bones, as the two halves of the lower jaw. — symphyseal, symphysial, symphystic, adj.
the joining of two or more bones by muscle.
1. an abnormally turned condition of a bone in part of the human body, especially the leg.
2. the condition of being bowlegged.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.bones - a percussion instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood or bone (usually held between the thumb and fingers) that are made to click together (as by Spanish dancers) in rhythm with the dance
percussion instrument, percussive instrument - a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by one object striking another
plural, plural form - the form of a word that is used to denote more than one
References in classic literature ?
If I catch you together I will break your bones and his too," he added.
His spine and shoulder-blades stood out like the bones under the hide of a dead steer left in the fields.
So deep a stain, indeed, that his dry old bones, in the Charter-street burial-ground, must still retain it, if they have not crumbled utterly to dust I know not whether these ancestors of mine bethought themselves to repent, and ask pardon of Heaven for their cruelties; or whether they are now groaning under the heavy consequences of them in another state of being.
Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along past the farmhouses at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like a troop of Don Cossacks; and the old dames, startled out of their sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had clattered by, and then exclaim, "Ay, there goes Brom Bones and his gang
In these last-mentioned haunts you see only sailors; but in New Bedford, actual cannibals stand chatting at street corners; savages outright; many of whom yet carry on their bones unholy flesh.
Where unrecorded names and navies rust, and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful water-land, there was thy most familiar home.
In that hole lies the bones of Chaka, the king who died for Baleka.
We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of catacombs.
Here the poor famishing wanderers had expected to find buffalo in abundance, and had fed their hungry hopes during their scrambling toll, with the thoughts of roasted ribs, juicy humps, and broiled marrow bones.
Then he asked his wife for more pudding, and as he ate, he threw the bones under the table.
There were shapely arches, built wholly of thigh bones; there were startling pyramids, built wholly of grinning skulls; there were quaint architectural structures of various kinds, built of shin bones and the bones of the arm; on the wall were elaborate frescoes, whose curving vines were made of knotted human vertebrae; whose delicate tendrils were made of sinews and tendons; whose flowers were formed of knee-caps and toe-nails.
he cried, swinging from his saddle, and a moment later the four were grouped about a human skull and a little litter of whitened human bones.