spineless

adjective

spine·​less ˈspīn-ləs How to pronounce spineless (audio)
1
: free from spines, thorns, or prickles
2
a
: having no spinal column : invertebrate
b
: lacking strength of character
spinelessly adverb
spinelessness noun

Example Sentences

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 Pullman describes them in The Amber Spyglass as spineless creatures with trunks, and spurs for feet. Nick Romano, EW.com, 7 Nov. 2022 While the spineless senior reporters stay silent, ambitious underling Eli James (Turner-Smith) steps forward to propose a story on cuts to education funding forcing a low-income West Virginia school district to switch to four-day weeks. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Nov. 2022 All the animals included are vertebrates – animals with spines – even though invertebrates, or spineless animals, outnumber them. Hafsa Khalil, CNN, 13 Oct. 2022 That doesn’t count unshaven MAGA theorist Steve Bannon, who has convicted of contempt for resisting a subpoena, plus Trump’s spineless last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who is facing his own contempt case. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 13 Oct. 2022 Texas deserves better than spineless hacks like this. Ariana Garcia, Chron, 15 Sep. 2022 Keller is investigating how well the barriers work against invertebrates — those little, sometimes microscopic, spineless organisms like quagga mussels, scud, water fleas and bloody red shrimp. Juanpablo Ramirez-franco, Journal Sentinel, 26 Aug. 2022 At first a seemingly spineless vice president, the character grew to become one of the longest-running antagonists for counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 July 2022 Where do political figures like Bowers and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, another witness, find their courage while the likes of Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham become spineless Trump toadies? Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 21 June 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spineless was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near spineless

Cite this Entry

“Spineless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spineless. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

spineless

adjective

spine·​less ˈspīn-ləs How to pronounce spineless (audio)
1
: having no spines, thorns, or prickles
2
a
: having no backbone : invertebrate
b
: lacking spirit, courage, or determination
spinelessly adverb
spinelessness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on spineless

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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