Pronunciation: (skel'i-tn),[key] —n. 1. Anat.,Zool.the bones of a human or an animal considered as a whole, together forming the framework of the body.
2. any of various structures forming a rigid framework in an invertebrate.
3. an emaciated person or animal.
4. a supporting framework, as of a leaf, building, or ship.
5. an outline, as of a literary work: the skeleton of the plot. 6. something reduced to its essential parts.
7. skeleton at the feast, a person or thing that casts gloom over a joyful occasion; a note or reminder of sorrow in the midst of joy.
8. skeleton in the closet or cupboard, a. a family scandal that is concealed to avoid public disgrace.
b. any embarrassing, shameful, or damaging secret.
—adj. 1. of or pertaining to a skeleton.
2. like or being a mere framework; reduced to the essential or minimal parts or numbers: a skeleton staff.