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

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 And since his election, Trump has done nothing but expose just how spineless members of the GOP are. Christian Schneider, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 Wonder Land: College Presidents' spineless response to antisemitic protests are the culmination of academia’s plummet the past 50 years which has included grade inflation, speech codes, trigger warnings and ultimately cancel culture. Michael Toth, WSJ, 15 Jan. 2024 Madeleine is firmly in the former camp, though her covert romance with spineless tire-factory heir André (a winsome Edouard Sulpice) is of less importance to her than her budding acting career. Guy Lodge, Variety, 24 Dec. 2023 Scorsese reshaped the film’s narrative around DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart, who makes for an unconventional lead — a spineless factotum, alternately loving and loathsome. Vulture, 20 Oct. 2023 And Dodi in turn is treated as a spineless daddy’s boy whose inability to read the room ultimately dooms himself and his relatively new girlfriend. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 16 Nov. 2023 The Biden White House’s spineless vacillation only validates the terrible timelessness of that truth. The Editors, National Review, 3 Nov. 2023 And therefore one that would draw criticism from any of the spineless GOP politicians who cannot survive without the fervent base that now owns their party. BostonGlobe.com, 2 Aug. 2023 Such is the spineless legacy Scott apparently brings to his almost-certain-to-lose presidential campaign. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 8 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spineless.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 21 Apr. 2024.

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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