spinal cord

noun
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

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

Recent Examples of spinal cord from the Web

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.

First Known Use of spinal cord

1834


SPINAL CORD Defined for English Language Learners

spinal cord

noun

Definition of spinal cord for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

spinal cord

noun

Definition of spinal cord for Students

: 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

Medical Dictionary

spinal cord

noun

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 vertebral 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

Illustration of spinal cord



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

of very fine texture or delicate form

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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