\ 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

Other Words from spine

spined \ ˈspīnd How to pronounce spine (audio) \ adjective
spinelike \ ˈspīn-​ˌlīk How to pronounce spine (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.
Recent Examples on the Web The fetus had severe abnormalities in the head, spine and heart. Kristen Dahlgren, NBC News, 15 July 2022 It’s made from memory core foam and has raised side supports for maintaining comfy spine and neck alignment and banishing pain — at home or on the go. Alesandra Dubin, Woman's Day, 11 July 2022 Those are the primary images of stand-up comedy — as reliable and ubiquitous as a book’s cover, spine and chapter titles. New York Times, 9 July 2022 Attorneys representing a Connecticut man who suffered a serious injury to his neck and spine while in police custody last month say the family wants a federal civil rights investigation into the incident. Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN, 8 July 2022 This memory foam pillow is available in two heights, and the high height is perfect for side sleepers to keep your neck and spine aligned. Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping, 6 July 2022 After Christmas in 2018, doctors found a tumor on Sam’s spine and neck. Fox News, 15 June 2022 These ensure that the head and shoulders are raised together in a natural position that opens the airway without misaligning the neck and spine. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 24 May 2022 The latent phase: Can lie dormant for decades in nerve cells near the head and spine. USA Today, 23 May 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team at Britannica has selected the best posture correctors.

Learn More About spine

Time Traveler for spine

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near spine




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for spine

Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spine. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for spine


\ ˈspīn How to pronounce spine (audio) \

Kids Definition of spine

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


\ ˈspīn How to pronounce spine (audio) \

Medical Definition of spine

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

More from Merriam-Webster on spine

Nglish: Translation of spine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spine for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spine


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!