spinal cord

noun

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

Stem cell therapy for brain injury or spinal cord injury carries substantial risks, while unproven claims of benefits are oversold. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Hundreds of health crowdfunding campaigns are for sham treatments," 23 Oct. 2018 This reflex test, developed by the 19th-century neurologist Johann Hoffman, indicates a problem in the nerves that emerge from the brain to make up the spinal cord in the neck. Lisa Sanders, M.d., New York Times, "Tests Indicated His Infection Was Getting Better. Why Did He Feel Worse?," 1 Feb. 2018 The shot severed the deer’s spinal cord and a warden had to put the animal down. Houston Chronicle, "Game warden field notes," 1 July 2018 In her book, Edinger examined 280 papers that dealt with the brains and spinal cords of extinct vertebrates separately, but had not yet been looked at in relation to each other. Leila Mcneill, Smithsonian, "The Woman Who Shaped the Study of Fossil Brains," 1 Mar. 2018 When the tumor has not spread, survival rates are 70 percent to 80 percent, but when the tumor has spread to the spinal cord, the survival rate decreases to about 60 percent. Lindsey Bever, Washington Post, "A 6-year-old was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. Then her little brother was, too.," 7 July 2018 Doctors soon discovered the mass was cancerous and diagnosed Kalea with medulloblastoma, a fast-growing cancer that forms at the base of the skull which can spread to the spinal cord and other parts of the body. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Siblings, Ages 4 and 6, Diagnosed with Brain Tumors Just 2 Weeks Apart: 'We Broke Down in Tears'," 30 June 2018 His exit physical in January uncovered an injury to a disk at the C2 and C3 vertebrae in his neck, threatening the spinal cord. Albert Breer, SI.com, "A Spectator in Minicamp Week: Eric Wood on Retirement," 14 June 2018 This vast amount of information is ferried by a network that passes signals through local clusters of nerves to the spinal cord and ultimately the brain. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "New artificial nerves could transform prosthetics," 31 May 2018

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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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for spinal cord

The first known use of spinal cord was in 1834

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More Definitions for spinal cord

spinal cord

noun

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

noun

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

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

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