Discussion Forum

Please consider registering

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

— Match —

— Forum Options —

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS
Word we have not found a definition or clear meaning for.
Topic Rating: +1 (1 votes) 
New Member
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:

This word has us baffled. We’ve found it used in numerous contexts, including art, medicine, and law. Here’s an example: “The reservation by the settlor of large beneficial trust powers and interests may leave the lifetime trusts declared in favour of others so squeletic as to be considered illusory.” We’ve found the construction “musculo-squeletic” many times, suggesting it means ‘skeletal’. In art, it seems to mean something like “bony” or “so skinny that bones show,” or even just ‘skeletal’ or ‘with bones visible’. A few photos with leafless trees using the word seem to suggest ‘like a skeleton’. What we have not found yet is a dictionary entry providing either a definiton or derivation. Help?

Fort Worth, TX
Forum Posts: 411
Member Since:

Squelette is French for skeleton.   That is the only definition I can pin down but I don’t have a french dictionary.   I expect you are correct in saying it means “skeletal.”   Skeletal does not always refer directly to a skeleton but may mean that in some respects resembles a skeleton.

New Member
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:

Thanks, Dick! What I’ve gathered, after tracing the derivation of ‘squelette,’ is that English ‘skeleton’ derives by a (mostly?) non-Latin path from Greek ‘skeletos’ — orginally an adjective, apparently, meaning withered, dried up, or even mummified. This is the common root, apparently, with Fr. ‘squelette,’ literally meaning ‘skeleton’. In English, then, these appear to become two different words with different connotations. English-language medical literature seems to be the exception, using it literally as ‘skeletal,’ as in ‘musculo-squeletic,’ and I believe the reason for this has to do with international conventions of medical terminology, perhaps for the sake of clarity. Outside of medicine, it appears to be more poetic, meaning “like a skeleton,” including (in some contexts) “thin enough so that one’s bones show,” but more commonly referring to the form of non-skeletal things like leafless trees, maps of river systems, and so on. When I offered this interpretation to the fellow with the legal quote, he said that it exactly matched the context, which is about legal instruments that provide structure but no substance. Thanks again!


Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 1147

Currently Online:
4 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 835

Bob Bridges: 680

Ron Draney: 642

RobertB: 461

Robert: 445

tromboniator: 422

Dick: 411

deaconB: 379

samaphore: 312

dilettante: 287

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 609

Members: 3035

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3250

Posts: 17197

Newest Members: 2ndtimere, andrewpaul, jason clarke, hajjr, ken wilbert, f14guy, Superman01, DanGaskell, barkingdogs, Matt

Administrators: Martha Barnette: 820, Grant Barrett: 1437, EmmettRedd: 687, Glenn: 1659, timfelten: 0