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skeleton (n.)

1570s, from Modern Latin sceleton "bones, bony framework of the body," from Greek skeleton soma "dried-up body, mummy, skeleton," from neuter of skeletos "dried-up" (also, as a noun, "dried body, mummy"), from skellein "dry up, make dry, parch," from PIE root *skele- "to parch, wither" (see sclero-).

Skelton was an early variant form. The noun use of Greek skeletos passed into Late Latin (sceletus), hence French squelette and rare English skelet (1560s), Spanish esqueleto, Italian scheletro. The meaning "bare outline" is first recorded c. 1600; hence skeleton crew (1778), skeleton key, etc. Phrase skeleton in the closet "source of secret shame to a person or family" is from 1812 (the image is perhaps from the Bluebeard fable).

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Definitions of skeleton from WordNet

skeleton (n.)
something reduced to its minimal form;
the bare skeleton of a novel
the battalion was a mere skeleton of its former self
skeleton (n.)
a scandal that is kept secret;
there must be a skeleton somewhere in that family's closet
Synonyms: skeleton in the closet / skeleton in the cupboard
skeleton (n.)
the hard structure (bones and cartilages) that provides a frame for the body of an animal;
Synonyms: skeletal system / frame / systema skeletale
skeleton (n.)
the internal supporting structure that gives an artifact its shape;
the building has a steel skeleton
Synonyms: skeletal frame / frame / underframe
From wordnet.princeton.edu