n. & v.
n. 1 any of the pieces of hard tissue making up the skeleton in vertebrates. 2 (in pl.) a the skeleton, esp. as remains after death. b the body, esp. as a seat of intuitive feeling (felt it in my bones). 3 a the material of which bones consist. b a similar substance such as ivory, dentine, or whalebone. 4 a thing made of bone. 5 (in pl.) the essential part of a thing (the bare bones). 6 (in pl.) a dice. b castanets. 7 a strip of stiffening in a corset etc.
v. 1 tr. take out the bones from (meat or fish). 2 tr. stiffen (a garment) with bone etc. 3 tr. Brit. sl. steal. bone china fine china made of clay mixed with the ash from bones. bone-dry quite dry. bone idle (or lazy) utterly idle or lazy. bone-meal crushed or ground bones used esp. as a fertilizer. bone of contention a source or ground of dispute. bone-setter a person who sets broken or dislocated bones, esp. without being a qualified surgeon. bone spavin see SPAVIN. bone up (often foll. by on) colloq. study (a subject) intensively. close to (or near) the bone 1 tactless to the point of offensiveness. 2 destitute; hard up. have a bone to pick (usu. foll. by with) have a cause for dispute (with another person). make no bones about 1 admit or allow without fuss. 2 not hesitate or scruple. point the bone (usu. foll. by at) Austral. 1 wish bad luck on. 2 cast a spell on in order to kill. to the bone 1 to the bare minimum. 2 penetratingly. work one's fingers to the bone work very hard, esp. thanklessly. boneless adj.
[ OE ban f. Gmc ]