noun A very lean or much emaciated person; a mere shadow of a man. Only a skeleton staff remains to see anyone interested around the site. skeleton - something reduced to its minimal form; "the battalion was a mere skeleton of its former self"; "the bare skeleton of a novel" b. adjective. 5,000-year-old 'Penang Woman' on display at archeological site in Guar Kepah Automated generation of control skeletons for use in animation. Learn more.