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bare bones

Anything bare bones has only the most basic elements or parts. The bare bones of a story is just the plot, or an outline without the details.

A skeleton is a literal example of something bare bones. With no muscles, organs, or skin, a skeleton is only the frame of an animal. When something else is called bare bones, it means it's been stripped to only the most essential facts or parts. A bare bones rock band would have guitar, bass, drums, and no more. The bare bones roster of a basketball team would have only five players and no substitutes. Bare bones = no frills.

Definitions of bare bones
  1. noun
    (plural) the most basic facts or elements
    “he told us only the bare bones of the story”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    center, centre, core, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, pith, substance, sum
    the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
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