spine

noun
\ ˈspīn How to pronounce spine (audio) \

Definition of spine

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 How to pronounce spined (audio) \ adjective
spinelike \ ˈspīn-​ˌlīk How to pronounce spinelike (audio) \ 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

For most people, a slight forward lean is necessary to keep the spine in a nice straight line. Amy Marturana, SELF, "Here’s What Proper Running Form Actually Is and How Much You Should Care About It," 2 Apr. 2019 Prickly pear cactus spines are actually very efficient compared to other cacti for puncturing (shown in a recent study). David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The United States' Oldest Tattoo Needle Is an Inked-Up Cactus Spine," 28 Feb. 2019 So begins the boy’s disorienting confinement in a story that is as spine-tingling as it is well written. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Freakiness and Fortitude," 19 July 2018 The secret: hundreds of hollow, rigid spines lining the surface of the tongue, according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Science says your cat’s tongue is ideally suited for grooming fur," 28 Dec. 2018 Interestingly, the Catwoman star is also not the only celebrity who’s been setting the trend for spine tattoos as of late. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Halle Berry Just Unveiled the Most Enormous Tattoo Right Down Her Back," 5 Mar. 2019 After four days on the road—snacking on cuttlefish puffs and other iffy gas-station food, hundreds of miles of forest, the endless downshifting to power up spine-rattling hills—letting someone else take the controls was a luxury. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Want Serious Bragging Rights? Do a Road Trip Across Borneo," 16 Nov. 2018 Rather than uniting and reassuring the country, as the writer seemed to want to do, the op-ed brought people together over their contempt for the writer’s lack of a spine. Aja Romano, Vox, "That New York Times op-ed may not have given us hope — but it did give us memes," 6 Sep. 2018 Why does the spaceship Discovery look like a brain with a spine? Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "2001 in 70mm: Pod bay doors look better than ever, still won’t open," 21 July 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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More Definitions for spine

spine

noun

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
informal : courage or strength of character

spine

noun
\ ˈspīn How to pronounce spine (audio) \

Kids Definition of spine

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

spine

noun
\ ˈspīn How to pronounce spine (audio) \

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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