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 The cancer’s tentacles had spread quickly and wrapped about his spinal cord. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Wired, "One Man’s Search for the DNA Data That Could Save His Life," 19 Nov. 2020 Manet was suffering from tabes dorsalis, the degeneration of nerves in the dorsal column of his spinal cord, a primary symptom of which was locomotor ataxia. Colin B. Bailey, The New York Review of Books, "Suffering, Unfaltering Manet," 17 Nov. 2020 The New York Times best-selling author and personal finance expert had emergency surgery in July for a tumor on her spinal cord, after ignoring some troubling signs for several months prior. NBC News, "Suze Orman shares the No. 1 lesson she learned from a recent health scare," 13 Oct. 2020 Blake was shot several times in an altercation with police in August and suffered severe injuries to his spinal cord and multiple organs. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for October 8: VP debate, Covid-19, SCOTUS, police, Russia," 8 Oct. 2020 AstraZeneca Plc’s paused vaccine trial was linked to a spinal cord problem in a patient. Bloomberg.com, "Trump Downplayed Risk; Global Deaths Top 900,000: Virus Update," 9 Sep. 2020 The 29-year-old Blake underwent surgery Tuesday, according to Crump, who added that the bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae. Arkansas Online, "3 shot, 2 killed in 3rd night of unrest over Blake shooting," 26 Aug. 2020 The 29-year-old Blake underwent surgery Tuesday, according to Crump, who added that the bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae. Mike Householder, Scott Bauer, Anchorage Daily News, "2 killed in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when gunfire breaks out during protests over police shooting of Jacob Blake Jr.," 26 Aug. 2020 The overlap with pain is also present in the ways — still poorly understood — in which itch travels from the peripheral nerves in the skin to the spinal cord and up to the brain, Dong says. Katherine Harmon Courage, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Search for What Causes Chronic Itching," 10 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for spinal cord

Time Traveler

The first known use of spinal cord was in 1834

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Statistics for spinal cord

Last Updated

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spinal cord.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spinal%20cord. Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

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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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