\ˈspīn \

Definition of spine 

1a : spinal column

b : something resembling a spinal column or constituting a central axis or chief support

c : the part of a book to which the pages are attached and on the cover of which usually appear the title and author's and publisher's names

2 : a stiff pointed plant process especially : one that is a modified leaf or leaf part — compare prickle sense 1, thorn sense 1a

3 : a sharp rigid process on an animal: such as

a : spicule

b : a stiff unsegmented fin ray of a fish

c : a pointed prominence on a bone

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Other Words from spine

spined \ˈspīnd \ adjective
spinelike \ˈspīn-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of spine in a Sentence

This X-ray shows her spine. Hedgehogs are covered with spines. They lack the spine to do what needs to be done.
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Recent Examples on the Web

As Mansour mentioned, the exercise targets the deepest core muscle that wraps around your sides and spine, the transverse abdominis. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Naomi Campbell Trains While She Travels With This One Versatile Core Move," 23 Nov. 2018 In reality, most girls from my school lost their virginity slumped against a tree in an apple orchard, bark jabbing uncomfortably into their spines, in between rounds of beer pong. Karley Sciortino, Vogue, "Is There a “Right” Way to Lose Your Virginity?," 19 Oct. 2018 Its 32 microspines are inspired by the spines that run up and down insect legs and can hook into bumpy surfaces. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inspired by Wasps, This Micro-Drone Lifts 40 Times its Weight," 25 Oct. 2018 For a second creative design idea, Alia makes a book spine basket, with the end product looking just like a shelf of books. Lauren Sheffield, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch a Closet Be Completely Transformed Into a Glamorous Office Space," 26 July 2018 The sight of a Victorian-era naval ship listing atop an Arctic ice field, her crew on board, hundreds of miles from civilization, is enough to send chills up the spine. Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "Ridley Scott's 'The Terror' turns macabre Arctic history into an engrossing fight for survival," 26 Mar. 2018 Fleeing gang violence in Honduras, Yudith Santos made her way up the spine of Central America, trekking some 1,400 miles with her two young daughters. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "Immigrant mother separated from her daughters reaches out with a letter," 10 July 2018 Over centuries, trade on the winding waterway hailed as the great spine of the U.S. built hundreds of communities. Katia Dmitrieva, Bloomberg.com, "In Louisiana, Trump’s Trade War Spooks America’s Biggest Port," 27 June 2018 And despite the Melo Group's growth and success, the family bonds that form the spine of the company remain intact. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "This Argentine family visited Miami in 2001 — and changed the city forever," 11 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spine

Middle English, thorn, spinal column, from Latin spina; perhaps akin to Latin spica ear of grain

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Statistics for spine

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spine

The first known use of spine was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for spine



English Language Learners Definition of spine

: the row of connected bones down the middle of the back

: a sharp, pointed part on an animal or plant

: courage or strength of character


\ˈspīn \

Kids Definition of spine

2 : a stiff pointed part growing from the surface of a plant or animal


\ˈspīn \

Medical Definition of spine 

2 : a pointed prominence or process (as on a bone)

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More from Merriam-Webster on spine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spine

Spanish Central: Translation of spine

Nglish: Translation of spine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spine for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spine

Comments on spine

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to enclose within walls

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