The skeleton is composed of bones and is the framework of the body.
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1. The bony framework of the body in vertebrates (endoskeleton) or the hard outer envelope of insects (exoskeleton or dermoskeleton). 2. All the dry parts remaining after the destruction and removal of the soft parts; this includes ligaments and cartilages as well as bones. 3. All the bones of the body taken collectively. 4. A rigid or semirigid nonosseous structure which functions as the supporting framework of a particular structure. [G. skeletos, dried, ntr. s., a mummy, a s.]
- appendicular s. [TA] the bones of the limbs including the shoulder and pelvic girdles. SYN: s. appendiculare [TA].
- s. appendiculare [TA] SYN: appendicular s..
- articulated s. mounted s., one with the various parts connected in such a way as to demonstrate normal relationships and allow motion between components as in the living body.
- axial s. [TA] articulated bones of head and vertebral column, i.e., head and trunk, as opposed to the appendicular s., the articulated bones of the upper and lower limbs. SYN: s. axiale [TA].
- s. axiale [TA] SYN: axial s..
- cardiac s. SYN: fibrous s. of heart.
- cardiac fibrous s. SYN: fibrous s. of heart.
- s. of eyelid SYN: tarsus (2).
- fibrous s. of heart a complex framework of dense collagen forming four fibrous rings (annuli fibrosi), which surround the ostia of the valves, a right and left fibrous trigone, formed by connecting the rings, and the membranous portions of the interatrial and interventricular septa; it is found in association with the base of the ventricles, i.e., at the level of the coronary sulcus; its functions include: 1) contributing reinforcement of the valvular ostia while providing attachment for the leaflets and cusps of the valves; 2) providing origin and insertion for the myocardium; and 3) serving as a sort of electrical “insulator,” separating the electrically conducted impulses of the atria and ventricles and providing passage for the common atrioventricular bundle of conductive tissue through the right fibrous trigone and membranous interventricular septum. SYN: cardiac fibrous s., cardiac s., s. of heart.
- s. of free inferior limb the bones of the lower limb except the hip bones, i.e., all lower limb bones including and distal to the femur.
- s. of free superior limb the bones of the upper limb except the scapula and clavicle, i.e., all upper limb bones including and distal to the humerus.
- gill arch s. cartilages associated with the visceral portion of the embryonic mammalian chondrocranium, representing the gill arch (branchial) skeletons as seen in shark-type fishes; they are the primordia of Meckel cartilage, the styloid, hyoid, cricoid, thyroid, and arytenoid cartilages, and the auditory ossicles. SEE ALSO: branchial arches, under arch.
- s. of heart SYN: fibrous s. of heart.
- jaw s. SYN: viscerocranium.
- thoracic s. [TA] the bones and cartilage that comprise the thoracic cage. SYN: s. thoracis [TA], s. thoracicus.
- s. thoracicus SYN: thoracic s..
- s. thoracis [TA] SYN: thoracic s..
- visceral s. SYN: visceroskeleton (2).

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skel·e·ton 'skel-ət-ən n
1) a usu. rigid supportive or protective structure or framework of an organism esp the bony or more or less cartilaginous framework supporting the soft tissues and protecting the internal organs of a vertebrate
2) the straight or branched chain or ring of atoms that forms the basic structure of an organic molecule

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the rigid framework of connected bone that gives form to the body, protects and supports its soft organs and tissues, and provides attachments for muscles and a system of levers essential for locomotion. The 206 named bones of the body are organized into the axial skeleton (of the head and trunk) and the appendicular skeleton (of the limbs).
skeletal adj.

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skel·e·ton (skelґə-tən) [Gr. “a dried body, mummy”] the hard framework of the animal body, especially the bony framework of the body of higher vertebrate animals; the bones of the body collectively. See Plate 40. See also endoskeleton, exoskeleton, and visceral skeleton. skeletal adj


Medical dictionary. 2011.


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