Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bone (To).

 Bone.Bone-grubber (A). 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Bone (To).
 
To filch, as, I boned it. Shakespeare (2 Henry VI., act i. 3) says. “By these ten bones, my lord …” meaning his ten fingers; and (Hamlet, iii. 2) calls the fingers “pickers and stealers.” Putting the two together there can be no doubt that “to bone” means to finger, that is, “to pick and steal.”   1
       
“You thought that I was buried deep
Quite decent-like and chary,
But from her grave in Mary-bone,
They’ve come and boned your Mary!”
       
Hood: Mary’s Ghost.
 


 Bone.Bone-grubber (A). 

 
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