nerve cord

noun

1
: the pair of closely united ventral longitudinal nerves with their segmental ganglia that is characteristic of many elongate invertebrates (such as earthworms)
2
: the dorsal tubular cord of nervous tissue above the notochord of a chordate that comprises or develops into the central nervous system

Examples of nerve cord in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The researchers traced the nerve cords with a powerful microscope and found that one type—the cords closest to the suckers—not only ran the length of an arm but also extended down another arm two arms away. Nora Bradford, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2023 Magnification of ventral nerve cord of Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis. K. N. Smith, Discover Magazine, 1 Mar. 2016 Each of the five specimens had a ventral nerve cord, the invertebrate version of a spinal cord. K. N. Smith, Discover Magazine, 1 Mar. 2016 The nerve cord is a chain of nerve cell clusters called ganglia, linked by the long arms of neurites. K. N. Smith, Discover Magazine, 1 Mar. 2016 The Stanleycaris nerve cord is completely non ganglionated. Jason P. Dinh, Discover Magazine, 8 July 2022 Our closest non-vertebrate relatives re-established a nerve cord (on the wrong side of the body, naturally) but couldn't be bothered with niceties like a skeleton. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 7 July 2022 So, the presence of cartilage suggests that, even at this early stage of their evolution, vertebrates probably had a distinct nerve cord that produced a neural crest—something that our close relatives like the amphioxus doesn't have. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 7 July 2022 The critters can’t control each leg individually (imagine that traffic jam), but instead use a single nerve cord that travels the length of their body to coordinate the movement. Haley Weiss, The Atlantic, 16 Dec. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nerve cord.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1877, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nerve cord was in 1877

Dictionary Entries Near nerve cord

Cite this Entry

“Nerve cord.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nerve%20cord. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

nerve cord

noun
1
: a pair of closely united nerves that run along the inside of the body on the lower side of many long-bodied invertebrates (as earthworms and insects)
2
: a tube-shaped cord of nervous tissue in the back or upper side of a chordate above the notochord that makes up or develops into the central nervous system

Medical Definition

nerve cord

noun
: the dorsal tubular cord of nervous tissue above the notochord of a chordate that in vertebrates includes or develops an anterior enlargement comprising the brain and a more posterior part comprising the spinal cord with the two together making up the central nervous system
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