\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

Keep your hips forward-facing and spine elongated throughout this entire exercise. Philly.com, "A beginner's guide to starting a yoga practice," 10 July 2018 Yet the dances makes spines and legs look just as lavishly resourceful. New York Times, "Review: Pam Tanowitz’s ‘Four Quartets’ Hits Poetic Heights," 8 July 2018 Considering baseball’s putrid offensive numbers these days, just seeing three consecutive hits might be our spine-tingling moment. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "MLB All-Star Game: Yes, Bryce Harper deserves to be there — because it's all about enjoyment," 8 July 2018 Upon examination of the wounded animal, the warden observed a small entrance wound near the deer’s spine. Houston Chronicle, "Game warden field notes," 1 July 2018 In addition to firm, supportive high-density urethane foam, the front seats are wider, and designed to keep front passengers’ spines in a natural S-shape. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Mazda6 sedan gets a major update for 2018, with more elegance, tech," 29 June 2018 However, this spine will be removed so patrons can safely touch the stingrays. The Kansas City Zoo, kansascity, "New Stingray Bay Touch Tank Exhibit Now Open at KC Zoo (Sponsored)," 27 June 2018 Clearly, when her back’s against the wall, Wendy will bend her once-straight moral spine to escape the situation. refinery29.com, "Why Wendy Rhoades Is One Of The Most Consistently Surprising Characters On TV," 7 May 2018 The pole severed Callahan’s spine, rendering him a C5-6 quadriplegic. refinery29.com, "How John Callahan Used His Disability To Fuel Fearlessly Funny Cartoons," 13 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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Statistics for spine

Last Updated

8 Oct 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

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