\ 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 2-year-old suffered compression fractures to his spine and two subdural hematomas, bruising and swelling. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Ohio baby-sitter accused of beating children, causing back injuries," 11 July 2019 Miller was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma in April 2018 after undergoing emergency surgery for an infection in her spine. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'Dance Moms' star Abby Lee Miller slams American Airlines after falling out of wheelchair," 9 July 2019 An initial examination of the skeleton showed that the woman had a fusion in her spine and suffered from scoliosis, Gwinnett County Medical Examiner Dr. Carol Terry told the Gwinnett Daily Post. Fox News, "Remains found in suitcase in 2016 finally ID'd using new technology, police say," 30 June 2019 Having lost her mobility due to a cancerous tumor found in her spine, Abby is teaching the kids dance through technical vocabulary, even testing them in their auditions for the show on the terms used for certain moves. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "Get to Know Gianna Martello, the Unsung Hero of 'Dance Moms'," 11 June 2019 One bullet punched through his body armor and lodged in his spine. Lisa J. Huriash, sun-sentinel.com, "Mike Satz has led for decades as Broward’s top prosecutor. Here are some of his biggest cases.," 4 June 2019 According to the lawsuit, Barbee suffered spine and rib fractures, a traumatic brain injury, lung contusions and several other physical and cognitive injuries from the crash. oregonlive.com, "Former Tigard cop injured in crash sues driver, driver’s ex-employer for $23.6 million," 28 June 2019 Pull the naval in towards the spine and slowly roll down onto your lower back. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "A no-sweat, full body workout for busy days," 25 June 2019 Giant, cigar-size males sport thick hind legs tipped with powerful spines. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Thorny devils grow giant legs to pin rivals," 25 June 2019

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).


something desired as essential

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