\ 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

The industrial spine of the company gave GE a AAA credit rating that allowed it to borrow money inexpensively, giving it an advantage over banks, which relied on deposits. Thomas Gryta And Ted Mann, WSJ, "GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out," 14 Dec. 2018 The back was designed with buttons trailing down the spine and featured a low back so as to not cover Princess Eugenie's scar. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Zac Posen Shares Photo of Princess Eugenie's Wedding Reception Dress from the Back," 16 Nov. 2018 In the #HouseOfZ #atelier #zacposen 📸@vanina_sorrenti The dress featured a stunning chiffon train and cape that cascaded down from the shoulders, with a line of buttons down the spine. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "New Photos Reveal the Dramatic Back of Princess Eugenie's Reception Dress," 16 Nov. 2018 But Seema Verma, his appointee running the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, gave a hint yesterday that might send a shiver down the spines of PBMs. Washington Post, "The Health 202: No one wants to be the big, bad wolf of drug costs," 8 May 2018 The whole thing is powered by an Intel Euclid dev kit and has a battery pack along the spine that provides up to three minutes of flight time. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "This flying ‘dragon’ drone can change shape in midair," 28 June 2018 The gorgeous sound produced by the full chorus here sent shivers down my spine. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Muti leads CSO and Chorus in stirring season finale, Rossini's Stabat Mater," 22 June 2018 Bishop Briggs This worldly indie pop rocker will send shock waves down your spine. Kat Bein, Billboard, "12 Must-See Acts At Electric Forest 2018," 7 June 2018 Lab tests, including a CT scan and MRI, revealed the fawns had two separate had head-neck regions, which rejoined along the spine. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Two-headed fawn found in Minnesota forest shows rare wildlife deformity," 13 May 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



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


\ 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)

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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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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