nerve cord


Definition of nerve cord

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 Yet retinoic acid signaling was thought to be essential for making a brain, nerve cord and other vital features. Quanta Magazine, "By Losing Genes, Life Often Evolved More Complexity," 1 Sep. 2020 The FlyEM group is now working on constructing a circuit diagram of the fruit fly’s full nervous system—which consists of the entire brain and nerve cord, a spinal cordlike structure in the insect. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Largest Brain Wiring Diagram to Date Is Published," 22 Jan. 2020 Along this nerve cord are inhibitory neurons that act as gatekeepers, allowing pain signals through or blocking them based on context. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Study Finds Insects Can Experience Chronic Pain," 17 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of nerve cord

1877, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nerve cord

Time Traveler for nerve cord

Time Traveler

The first known use of nerve cord was in 1877

See more words from the same year

Statistics for nerve cord

Cite this Entry

“Nerve cord.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nerve cord

nerve cord


Medical Definition of nerve cord

: 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

Comments on nerve cord

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!