backbone

noun
back·​bone | \ ˈbak-ˈbōn How to pronounce backbone (audio) , -ˌbōn\

Definition of backbone

2 : something that resembles a backbone: such as
a : a chief mountain ridge, range, or system
b : the foundation or most substantial or sturdiest part of something
c : the longest chain of atoms or groups of atoms in a usually long molecule (such as a polymer or protein)
d : the primary high-speed hardware and transmission lines of a telecommunications network (such as the Internet)
3 : firm and resolute character

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Other Words from backbone

backboned \ ˈbak-​ˌbōnd How to pronounce backboned (audio) \ adjective

Examples of backbone in a Sentence

She is the backbone of the family. He showed some backbone by refusing to compromise his values.

Recent Examples on the Web

Buttigieg is struggling with black voters, the backbone of the Democratic Party. Steve Peoples, The Denver Post, "In crowded 2020 Democratic field, a clear top tier emerges," 16 July 2019 The agricultural scene is very strong, the backbone of the state. Michael Mcandrews, courant.com, "Gourmet Road Trip: Vermont’s artisanal foods beckon," 11 July 2019 Favipiravir is shaped like a nucleotide, the backbone building block of DNA and RNA. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Meat-Allergy Tick Also Carries a Mystery Killer Virus," 8 July 2019 The women’s program is the entire backbone and inspiriting force of soccer in America - and has been ever since 1996. Sally Jenkins, Houston Chronicle, "U.S. women’s soccer team is an American treasure. Pay them.," 12 June 2019 That belief formed the spiritual backbone of the civil rights movement. John Blake, CNN, "Harris dropped a bomb on Biden that's bigger than politics," 29 June 2019 Like a quilt made up of different fabrics, these values and interests are the thread that holds a solution together, the almost invisible backbone that plays a critical role in bringing differing opinions to a mutual agreement. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Homelessness: Many sides of the same coin," 23 June 2019 This method of lawmaking forms the backbone of much of American labor, anti-discrimination, health care, and countless other areas of law. Ian Millhiser, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court’s Covert Plan to Gut the EPA’s Powers," 21 June 2019 For the most attractive presentation, cook split chicken; cut small (3 to 4 pound) chickens in half through the breastbone, then cut out the backbone to create two half pieces. Jeanmarie Brownson, chicagotribune.com, "Homemade harissa sauce sparks ordinary grilled chicken," 19 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backbone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of backbone

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for backbone

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backbone

The first known use of backbone was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for backbone

backbone

noun

English Language Learners Definition of backbone

: the row of connected bones that go down the middle of the back and protect the spinal cord
: the most important or strongest part of something
: strength and courage

backbone

noun
back·​bone | \ ˈbak-ˈbōn How to pronounce backbone (audio) \

Kids Definition of backbone

1 : the column of bones in the back enclosing and protecting the spinal cord : spinal column
2 : the strongest part of something He is the backbone of the family.
3 : strength of character

backbone

noun
back·​bone | \ -ˈbōn, -ˌbōn How to pronounce backbone (audio) \

Medical Definition of backbone

2 : the longest chain of atoms or groups of atoms in a usually long molecule (as a polymer or protein)

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Comments on backbone

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