\ 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

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 all-rubber swim fins are flexible enough to boost maneuverability underwater, but the vertical spines on their outside edges help stabilize the blade—giving you more oomph out of each kick. Michael Calore, WIRED, "Cool Underwater Gear for the Smartphone Photographer," 24 June 2019 Fifty years after the infamous fire on the Cuyahoga River, a growing network of 150 miles of trails and parks, with the Towpath Trail as the spine, is growing in a part of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County long deprived of green space. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Ceremony celebrates Cuyahoga River’s journey from shame to pride 50 years after fire on water," 22 June 2019 Marrero explains it this way: Many people tend to do sit-ups incorrectly by leading the motion with their head first (versus their core) and over-rotating their upper back, which can cause the upper portion of the spine to curve. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Why You Should Try Sit-ups With a Mini Resistance Band Around Your Wrists," 18 Apr. 2019 The architect, who built the house for himself, had a huge collection of books, and a bookcase forms a kind of spine at the center of the home. Robyn A. Friedman, WSJ, "The Designs That Make Selling a Home Much, Much Harder," 20 Dec. 2018 In 2002, Eugenie was told she had curvature of the spine and would need corrective surgery. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Royal Fans Love How Princess Eugenie's Wedding Dress Shows Off Her Scoliosis Scar," 12 Oct. 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

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