\ ˈspīn \

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 \ 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

The condition, which causes the spine to curve, is thought to occur in approximately 3 out of every 1000 children. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Eugenie Opens Up About the Scoliosis Operation She Had in Her Childhood," 23 Dec. 2018 Which, there are many, including all of the glute muscles, the hamstrings, the inner thigh muscles, and the psoas muscles (deep core muscles that attach your pelvis to your spine). Amy Marturana, SELF, "12 of the Best Hip-Strengthening Exercises," 19 Oct. 2018 Cruz has broken bones and damage to his spine and other parts of his body, the station reported. Doug Phillips, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Man critically hurt in boat propeller mishap, reports say," 18 June 2018 The family admitted Addy to hospice care to combat the pain as the cancer spread to her spine, Sooter said in a Facebook update posted on June 1. Cydney Henderson, azcentral, "Photo shows brother comforting little sister hours before she died," 12 June 2018 Inhale to prepare, exhale, pull shoulder blades down the back, pull belly button to the spine while lifting the head and upper trunk off the mat. Angela Peterson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New Year's resolution: Pilates lengthens, strengthens, balances body," 9 Jan. 2018 On your exhale pull in the pelvic floor and pull your bellybutton to your spine. Claire Young, Marie Claire, "Are Crunches Hurting Your Sex Life?," 2 Mar. 2017 The most compelling came from people who had little or no prior knowledge of the thylacine, and yet described, just as old-timers had, an awkward gait and a thick, stiff tail that seemed fused to the spine. Brooke Jarvis, The New Yorker, "The Obsessive Search for the Tasmanian Tiger," 16 Jan. 2012 Later, Meister underwent surgery to re-align his skull and spine. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Indiana man survives internal decapitation years after beating brain cancer: 'Our boy is a miracle'," 3 Aug. 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

15 Jan 2019

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

What made you want to look up spine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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