Definition of bone noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//bəʊn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//boʊn//
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  1. 1   [countable] any of the hard parts that form the skeleton of the body of a human or an animal He survived the accident with no broken bones. This fish has a lot of bones in it. The dog was gnawing at a bone. She had a beautiful face with very good bone structure.
  2. 2[uncountable] the hard substance that bones are made of knives with bone handles
  3. 3-boned (in adjectives) having bones of the type mentioned fine-boned
  4. Word OriginOld English bān, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch been and German Bein.Extra examples He’s all skin and bone after his illness. Her eyes were black in a face the colour of bleached bones. She was diagnosed as having brittle bones. The black and white photographs emphasized her fine bone structure. The shock jarred every bone in his body. a bone marrow transplant the delicate bones of her faceIdioms (informal) a very thin person or animal The cat hadn’t been fed for weeks and was just a bag of bones.
    the bare bones (of something)
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    the basic facts the bare bones of the story
    a subject which causes disagreement and arguments between people See related entries: Anger (informal) (of a remark, joke, story, etc.) so honest or clearly expressed that it is likely to cause offence to some people His comments about her size were a bit close to the bone. Some of the sex scenes in the play were judged by critics to be too close to the bone.
    cut, pare, etc. something to the bone
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    to reduce something, such as costs, as much as you possibly can Their annual budget has already been pared to the bone.
    feel (it) in your bones (that…)
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    to be certain about something even though you do not have any direct proof and cannot explain why you are certain I know I'm going to fail this exam—I can feel it in my bones.
    have a bone to pick with somebody
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    (informal) to be angry with somebody about something and want to discuss it with them
    make no bones about (doing) something
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    (informal) to be honest and open about something; to not hesitate to do something She made no bones about telling him exactly what she thought of him.
    not have a… bone in your body
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    (informal) to have none of the quality mentioned She was honest and hard-working, and didn't have an unkind bone in her body.
    put flesh on (the bones of) something
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    to develop a basic idea, etc. by giving more details to make it more complete The strength of the book is that it puts flesh on the bare bones of this argument.
    (nothing but/all/only) skin and bone
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    (informal) extremely thin in a way that is not attractive or healthy
    to give somebody a small part of what they want as a way of showing that you want to help them, without offering them the main thing they want She feels this new energy bill is just throwing a bone to the environmentalists. affecting you very strongly His threats chilled her to the bone.
    work your fingers to the bone
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    to work very hard
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: bone