spinal cord


Definition of spinal cord

: the cord of nervous tissue that extends from the brain lengthwise along the back in the spinal canal, gives off the pairs of spinal nerves, carries impulses to and from the brain, and serves as a center for initiating and coordinating many reflex acts — see brain illustration

Examples of spinal cord in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

All of the patients had been hospitalized, most at UCSF, in serious condition with inflammation of the brain or spinal cord. Erin Allday, SFChronicle.com, "UCSF tool uses DNA to identify hard-to-find sources of infection," 12 June 2019 When an infected animal bites a human, rabies is transmitted from saliva, through the open wound and into the nerves, where the virus goes to the brain and spinal cord. Minali Nigam, CNN, "Most rabies infections in the United States come from bats, CDC says," 12 June 2019 In 2014, Frances fell, severely damaging her spinal cord. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 Even rarer, about 1 in 150 people who are infected with West Nile virus can develop a serious illness — such as inflammation of the spinal cord or brain — the CDC said. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "What is West Nile virus? 3 things to know about the mosquito-spread ailment," 31 July 2018 This cross section of a mouse spinal cord, from 1899, shows radial glia cells, the Rodney Dangerfields of brain cells. Sharon Begley, STAT, "In ‘Beautiful Brain,’ the secrets of neurons emerge in Nobel-winning scientist’s ink and pencil drawings," 3 May 2018 Ten years ago, attorney Marc Schechter developed a sudden painful condition known as transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, "Gupta to Jeff Sessions: Medical marijuana could save many addicted to opioids," 24 Apr. 2018 Straus had neck problems long before the crash, which bruised his spinal cord severely enough to cause paralysis. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "Bellator’s Daniel Straus back in cage after motorcycle crash," 25 Mar. 2019 Since her diagnosis, the actress has been open about her condition and its effect on the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Ariel Henley, Allure, "How Fashion Lets Me Embrace the Physical Differences Caused by Crouzon Syndrome," 12 Mar. 2019

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

1834, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for spinal cord

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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The first known use of spinal cord was in 1834

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More Definitions for spinal cord

spinal cord


English Language Learners Definition of spinal cord

: the large group of nerves which runs through the center of the spine and carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body

spinal cord


Kids Definition of spinal cord

: a thick bundle of nerves that extends from the brain down through the cavity of the backbone and connects with nerves throughout the body to carry information to and from the brain

spinal cord


Medical Definition of spinal cord

: the thick longitudinal cord of nervous tissue that in vertebrates extends along the back dorsal to the bodies of the vertebrae and is enclosed in the spinal canal formed by their neural arches, is continuous anteriorly with the medulla oblongata, gives off at intervals pairs of spinal nerves to the various parts of the trunk and limbs, serves not only as a pathway for nerve impulses to and from the brain but as a center for carrying out and coordinating many reflex actions independently of the brain, and is composed largely of white matter arranged in columns and tracts of longitudinal fibers about a large central core of gray matter somewhat H-shaped in cross section and pierced centrally by a small longitudinal canal continuous with the ventricles of the brain

called also medulla spinalis

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More from Merriam-Webster on spinal cord

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spinal cord

Spanish Central: Translation of spinal cord

Nglish: Translation of spinal cord for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spinal cord for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spinal cord

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to take the place or position of

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