spine·​less | \ ˈspīn-ləs \

Definition of spineless

1 : free from spines, thorns, or prickles
2a : having no spinal column : invertebrate
b : lacking strength of character

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Other Words from spineless

spinelessly adverb
spinelessness noun

Examples of spineless in a Sentence

a spineless man who let his wife make all the decisions spineless seamen who trembled at the first roar of the cannon

Recent Examples on the Web

Right or wrong, plenty of Twitter’s users view Dorsey as a feckless, spineless suit unwilling to address even the most basic problems plaguing his platform. Parker Molloy, The Verge, "Roasting Jack Dorsey’s beard may be petty, but it’s also part of a time-honored tradition," 7 Sep. 2018 Deep sea scientists have a longstanding problem: studying a soft, spineless creature without damaging it beyond recognition. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Neat 12-Sided Origami Bot Traps Squid and Jellyfish Without Hurting Them," 18 July 2018 Long, slender light green fruits are spineless and almost always curved, unless grown on a trellis and harvested when 12 inches long. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Growing Crisp Cucumbers," 12 July 2018 We are led by a spineless group of men and women, tethered to money and re-election, their collective conscience gone with the wind. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Morning Line: After Annapolis killings, Doc asks what the hell is wrong with us," 2 July 2018 Elsewhere, Strahovski spoke about how Serena has pretty much had it with her abusive husband, Fred, and why Joseph Fiennes is so good at playing this spineless creep of a human being. Glenn Whipp, latimes.com, "Yvonne Strahovski helps us process our complicated feelings toward her 'Handmaid's Tale' character," 13 June 2018 But after eight years of weak, pathetic spineless leadership under Obama, things have changed. Fox News, "Hannity: How we got to this point with North Korea," 9 June 2018 Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick who refused to call torture immoral, was confirmed Thursday with the help of several spineless Democrats who voted in favor of Haspel’s becoming the first female director of the CIA. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Trump’s Thug, the Ruthless Gina Haspel, Confirmed as the 1st Female CIA Director," 17 May 2018 And he's surrounded himself with other racists who want the same thing, or spineless flunkies who will enable and cover for him. Luke Darby, GQ, "The Trump Administration Doesn’t Care About What Happens to Detained Immigrant Children," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spineless.' 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 spineless

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for spineless

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for spineless

The first known use of spineless was in 1827

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More Definitions for spineless



English Language Learners Definition of spineless

: lacking courage or strength

: having no spine or spines


spine·​less | \ ˈspīn-ləs \

Kids Definition of spineless

1 : lacking spines spineless stems
2 : having no backbone a spineless animal
3 : lacking spirit, courage, or determination

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Comments on spineless

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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