Definition of skeuomorph in English:



  • 1An object or feature which imitates the design of a similar artefact made from another material.

    ‘the pottery box with a square lid is a skeuomorph of a twilled basketry container’
    • ‘Other types of bronzes from this area include representations of quadripeds and skeuomorphs of horn and gourd palm-wine vessels.’
    • ‘First-generation skeuomorphs are close mimics, even fakes. Second-generation skeuomorphs abandon any serious attempt at deception.’
    • ‘A skeuomorph is a derivative object which retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original.’
    • ‘The brown fabric, the smooth finish, and the decoration, all combine to give the effect of a stitched leather vessel, of which this is no doubt a skeuomorph.’
    • ‘It is accepted that much of the ornament on Irish and Pictish sculpture represents stone skeuomorphs of jewelled, metal-encased wooden crosses.’
    1. 1.1Computing An element of a graphical user interface which mimics a physical object.
      ‘note-taking apps offer skeuomorphs of yellow legal pads, squared paper, ring binders, etc.’
      ‘when you first load up the app, you'll be presented with a skeuomorph of a photo album’
      • ‘As these real-life analogs to Apple's skeuomorphs become less prevalent, these metaphors will be less and less useful to users.’
      • ‘Detractors say skeuomorphs represent the triumph of familiarity over function.’
      • ‘If skeuomorphs do not help the user accomplish their goals, then they are more design than is necessary, and should be omitted.’
      • ‘The page turning is one of the few software-based skeuomorphs that seems to be universally liked.’
      • ‘Inappropriate skeuomorphs can cause more problems than they solve.’


Late 19th century: from Greek skeuos container, implement + morphē form.