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

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 Born with spina bifida, a defect of the spinal cord, the Orange County teeanger has had about a dozen surgeries and dealt with serious medical complications because nerves that supply some internal organs, including his kidneys, don’t work property. Leslie Postal, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Boone High senior faces challenges but loves 'nitty-gritty' of high school journalism," 22 May 2018 Last year, one team concluded that handedness actually arises in the spinal cord. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Was Science Wrong About Being Right?," 18 May 2018 In most people, the spinal column is made up of 33 stacked vertebrae that house and protect the nerves of the spinal cord and the bundle of nerves that sits below it. Korin Miller, SELF, "Chrissy Teigen Wants to Know If She Can Get a Bikini Wax During Her Epidural," 15 May 2018 Under the provision, hunters could still quarter the deer within the county it was harvested or bone it out and then take the meat anywhere in the state, but no portion of the spinal cord could be attached or moved. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gov. Walker outlines tougher CWD measures," 2 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

6 Oct 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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