Anatomy, Zoology.

one of the structures composing the skeleton of a vertebrate.
the hard connective tissue forming the substance of the skeleton of most vertebrates, composed of a collagen-rich organic matrix impregnated with calcium, phosphate, and other minerals.

such a structure from an edible animal, usually with meat adhering to it, as an article of food:
Pea soup should be made with a ham bone.
any of various similarly hard or structural animal substances, as ivory or whalebone.
something made of or resembling such a substance.
a small concession, intended to pacify or quiet; a conciliatory bribe or gift:
The administration threw the student protesters a couple of bones, but refused to make any basic changes in the curriculum or requirements.

the skeleton.
a body:
Let his bones rest in peace.
Games Slang. dice.
(initial capital letter) Mr. Bones.
a simple rhythm instrument consisting of two sometimes curved bars or short strips of bone, ivory, wood, or the like, held between the fingers of one hand and clacked together.

the color of bone; ivory or off-white.
a flat strip of whalebone or other material for stiffening corsets, petticoats, etc.; stay.
Games Slang. a domino.
to remove the bones from:
to bone a turkey.
to put whalebone or another stiffener into (clothing).
Agriculture. to put bone meal into (feed, fertilizer, etc.).
completely; absolutely:
bone tired.
bone up, Informal. to study intensely; cram:
We’re going to have to bone up for the exam.
feel in one’s bones, to think or feel intuitively:
She felt in her bones that it was going to be a momentous day.
have a bone to pick with someone, to have cause to disagree or argue with someone:
The teacher had a bone to pick with him because his homework paper was identical with his neighbor’s.
make no bones about,

to deal with in a direct manner; act or speak openly:
He makes no bones about his dislike of modern music.
to have no fear of or objection to.

to the bone,

to the essentials; to the minimum:
The government cut social service programs to the bone.
to an extreme degree; thoroughly:
chilled to the bone.

Historical Examples

Caves of Terror Talbot Mundy
Dorothy Dixon Wins Her Wings Dorothy Wayne
Surgery, with Special Reference to Podiatry Maximilian Stern
Seven Mohave Myths A. L. Kroeber

(adverb; when intransitive, usually foll by on) (informal) to study intensively
any of the various structures that make up the skeleton in most vertebrates
the porous rigid tissue of which these parts are made, consisting of a matrix of collagen and inorganic salts, esp calcium phosphate, interspersed with canals and small holes related adjectives osseous osteal
something consisting of bone or a bonelike substance
(pl) the human skeleton or body: they laid his bones to rest, come and rest your bones
a thin strip of whalebone, light metal, plastic, etc, used to stiffen corsets and brassieres
(pl) the essentials (esp in the phrase the bare bones): to explain the bones of a situation
(pl) dice
(pl) an informal nickname for a doctor
close to the bone, near the bone

risqué or indecent: his jokes are rather close to the bone
in poverty; destitute

feel in one’s bones, to have an intuition of
have a bone to pick, to have grounds for a quarrel
make no bones about

to be direct and candid about
to have no scruples about

(often foll by at) (Austral) point the bone

to wish bad luck (on)
to threaten to bring about the downfall (of)

verb (mainly transitive)
to remove the bones from (meat for cooking, etc)
to stiffen (a corset, etc) by inserting bones
to fertilize with bone meal
(taboo, slang) to have sexual intercourse with
(Brit) a slang word for steal
a former name of Annaba


Money; cash (1970s+ Teenagers)
A dollar, esp a silver dollar (1860s+)
The erect penis (mid-1800s+)

Study intensely, as in I’ll have to bone up on my Spanish if I’m to pass the language requirement. The verb bone alone was used in this sense from the mid-1800s on, up being added later. [ ; late 1800s ]

bone of contention
bone to pick, have a
bone up


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