in·​ver·​te·​brate | \ (ˌ)in-ˈvər-tə-brət How to pronounce invertebrate (audio) , -ˌbrāt\

Definition of invertebrate

1 : lacking a spinal column also : of, relating to, or concerned with invertebrate animals
2 : lacking in strength or vitality : weak

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Other Words from invertebrate

invertebrate noun

Examples of invertebrate in a Sentence

an invertebrate Congress that blithely went along with the President's ill-conceived plan

Recent Examples on the Web

Corals are invertebrate animals with simple stomachs and mouths surrounded by tentacles. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Ruth Gates Raced to Save Coral Reefs by Breeding Hardier Specimens," 2 Nov. 2018 The fiddler crabs are like little invertebrate peacocks. James Gorman, New York Times, "For Fiddler Crabs, ‘Size Does Matter’," 26 Feb. 2018 On these lands, the general public are allowed to collect small amounts of plant and invertebrate fossils, says Polly. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "What Shrinking Fossil-Rich National Monuments Means for Science," 19 Dec. 2017 Sea squirts also give us a very useful illustration of the vertebrates’ closest invertebrate relatives. Bill Hatcher, National Geographic, "Why You Move the Way You Do," 28 Feb. 2016 In the wild, these slugs are known to feed on hydroids, an invertebrate marine organism. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Sea Slug Has a Crafty Way of Getting Super-Sized Meals," 4 Nov. 2017 But there are also large numbers of small invertebrate animals, including insects, which are the foundations of the ecosystem. National Geographic, "Saving Half the Planet for Nature Isn't As Crazy As It Seems," 27 Mar. 2016 While Trump continues to gratuitously stoke culture wars by attacking the NFL, the GOP’s invertebrate dysfunction continues to be on full display. Charles J. Sykes, Time, "Charlie Sykes: Roy Moore Signals the End of the Republican Party," 28 Sep. 2017 Decades of degradation by hikers, motorcyclists, homeless campers and partying had hammered the fish, forcing heaps of gravel off fragile slopes into the creek, snuffing stoneflies and other invertebrate food. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s rarest fish: greenback cutthroats endure electro-zapping, netting and squeezing as biologists try to save state fish from extinction," 13 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'invertebrate.' 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 invertebrate

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for invertebrate

New Latin invertebratus, from Latin in- + New Latin vertebratus vertebrate

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Statistics for invertebrate

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Time Traveler for invertebrate

The first known use of invertebrate was in 1819

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More Definitions for invertebrate


in·​ver·​te·​brate | \ in-ˈvər-tə-brət How to pronounce invertebrate (audio) \

Kids Definition of invertebrate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having no backbone an invertebrate animal



Kids Definition of invertebrate (Entry 2 of 2)

: an animal (as a worm or a crab) that does not have a backbone


in·​ver·​te·​brate | \ (ˈ)in-ˈvərt-ə-brət How to pronounce invertebrate (audio) , -ˌbrāt How to pronounce invertebrate (audio) \

Medical Definition of invertebrate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an animal having no backbone or internal skeleton



Medical Definition of invertebrate (Entry 2 of 2)

: lacking a spinal column also : of or relating to invertebrate animals

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Comments on invertebrate

What made you want to look up invertebrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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