While the word skeleton has shifted to a more precise and useful technical definition, it has not strayed far from its etymological roots. The word skeleton entered English at the height of the English Renaissance, a time of great growth for the English language, roughly around 1570. Skeleton came from the modern Latin sceleton meaning the bones or bony framework of the body. It had a sense very close to mummification-think of the image of the dried up and mummified remains showing bones underneath. The modern Latin noun came from the Ancient Greek adjective skeleton from its use skeleton soma meaning dried-up body or mummy which came from the verb skellein meaning to dry up or dry out. The Proto-Indo-European root that formed all of these words is *skele- meaning to parch or whither (see also the Ancient Greek word skleros meaning hard, as in sclerotic). Latin had such power as the language of science and medicine at the time of the Renaissance in Europe that many scientific and medical words formed at this time remain similar in modern usage: thus French squelette, Spanish esqueleto, Italian scheletro.
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Image of the Egyptian Princes Ahmose Meryet Amon, discovered mummified and entombed on the banks of the Nile.