1. having a body of a specific kind (used in combination): a flat-bodied fish; a wide-bodied car.

noun, plural bod·ies.

  1. the physical structure and material substance of an animal or plant, living or dead.
  2. a corpse; carcass.
  3. the trunk or main mass of a thing: the body of a tree.
  4. Anatomy, Zoology. the physical structure of a human being or animal, not including the head, limbs, and tail; trunk; torso.
  5. Architecture. the principal mass of a building.
  6. the section of a vehicle, usually in the shape of a box, cylindrical container, or platform, in or on which passengers or the load is carried.
  7. Nautical. the hull of a ship.
  8. Aeronautics. the fuselage of a plane.
  9. Printing. the shank of a type, supporting the face.
  10. Geometry. a figure having the three dimensions of length, breadth, and thickness; a solid.
  11. Physics. a mass, especially one considered as a whole.
  12. the major portion of an army, population, etc.: The body of the American people favors the president’s policy.
  13. the principal part of a speech or document, minus introduction, conclusion, indexes, etc.
  14. a person: She’s a quiet sort of body.
  15. Law. the physical person of an individual.
  16. a collective group: student body; corporate body.
  17. Astronomy. an object in space, as a planet or star.
  18. a separate physical mass or quantity, especially as distinguished from other masses or quantities.
  19. consistency or density; richness; substance: This wine has good body. Wool has more body than rayon.
  20. the part of a dress that covers the trunk or the part of the trunk above the waist.
  21. Ceramics. the basic material of which a ceramic article is made.

verb (used with object), bod·ied, bod·y·ing.

  1. to invest with or as with a body.
  2. to represent in bodily form (usually followed by forth).


  1. of or relating to the body; bodily.
  2. of or relating to the main reading matter of a book, article, etc., as opposed to headings, illustrations, or the like.
  1. in a body, as a group; together; collectively: We left the party in a body.
  2. keep body and soul together, to support oneself; maintain life: Few writers can make enough to keep body and soul together without another occupation.

noun plural bodies

    1. the entire physical structure of an animal or human beingRelated adjectives: corporeal, physical
    2. (as modifier)body odour
  1. the flesh, as opposed to the spiritwhile we are still in the body
  2. the trunk or torso, not including the limbs, head, or tail
  3. a dead human or animal; corpse
  4. the largest or main part of anythingthe body of a vehicle; the body of a plant
  5. a separate or distinct mass of water or land
  6. the main part; majoritythe body of public opinion
  7. the central part of a written workthe body of a thesis as opposed to the footnotes
  8. a number of individuals regarded as a single entity; groupthe student body; they marched in a body
  9. maths a three-dimensional region with an interior
  10. physics an object or substance that has three dimensions, a mass, and is distinguishable from surrounding objects
  11. fullness in the appearance of the hair
  12. the characteristic full quality of certain wines, determined by the density and the content of alcohol or tannina Burgundy has a heavy body
  13. substance or firmness, esp of cloth
  14. the sound box of a guitar, violin, or similar stringed instrument
  15. a woman’s close-fitting one-piece garment for the torso
  16. the part of a dress covering the body from the shoulders to the waist
  17. another name for shank (def. 11)
    1. the pigment contained in or added to paint, dye, etc
    2. the opacity of a paint in covering a surface
    3. the apparent viscosity of a paint
  18. (in watercolour painting)
    1. a white filler mixed with pigments to make them opaque
    2. (as modifier)body colour See also gouache
  19. printing the measurement from top to bottom of a piece of type, usually ascender to descender
  20. an informal or dialect word for a person
  21. keep body and soul together to manage to keep alive; survive
  22. (modifier) of or relating to the main reading matter of a book as distinct from headings, illustrations, appendices, etcthe body text

verb bodies, bodying or bodied (tr)

  1. (usually foll by forth) to give a body or shape to

Old English bodig “trunk, chest” (of a man or animal); related to Old High German botah, of unknown origin. Not elsewhere in Germanic, and the word has died out in German (replaced by leib, originally “life,” and körper, from Latin). In English, extension to “person” is from late 13c. Meaning “main part” of anything was in late Old English, hence its use in reference to vehicles (1520s).

Contrasted with soul since at least mid-13c. Meaning “corpse” (short for dead body) is from late 13c. Transferred to matter generally in Middle English (e.g. heavenly body, late 14c.). Body politic “the nation, the state” first recorded 1520s, legalese, with French word order. Body image was coined 1935. Body language is attested from 1967, perhaps from French langage corporel (1966). Phrase over my dead body attested by 1833.


  1. The entire material or physical structure of an organism, especially of a human.
  2. The physical part of a person.
  3. A corpse or carcass.
  4. The trunk or torso of a human, as distinguished from the head, neck, and extremities.
  5. The largest or principal part, as of an organ; corpus.
  6. A physical thing or kind of substance.

In addition to the idioms beginning with body

  • body blow
  • body English

also see:

  • keep body and soul together
  • over my dead body

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