AskDefine | Define atomy

User Contributed Dictionary



A metanalysis (false splitting) of anatomy as an atomy.


IPA: /'ætəmi/


atomy (plural atomies)
  1. a skeleton
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 3, scene v,
      That eyes, that are the frail'st and softest things / Who shut their coward gates on atomies / Should be call'd tyrants, butchers, murderers!
    • 1786, Dr. Smollett, The History and Adventures of an Atom, Harrison and Co., page 5,
      I was now thrown into a violent perturbation of spirit; for I never could behold an atomy without tear and trembling, even when I knew it was no more than a competition of dry bone.

Extensive Definition

An atomy is a diminutive fairy creature or sprite of surprising smallness that was mentioned in some historic literature.


Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare describes Atomies pulling Queen Mab's carriage.
O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you. She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes In shape no bigger than an agate-stone On the fore-finger of an alderman, Drawn with a team of little atomies Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep; Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
Fairy Land by Edgar Allan Poe references atomies in the last lines:
They use that moon no more For the same end as before- Videlicet, a tent- Which I think extravagant: Its atomies, however, Into a shower dissever, Of which those butterflies Of Earth, who seek the skies, And so come down again, (Never-contented things!) Have brought a specimen Upon their quivering wings.
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