spinous

adjective spi·nous \ ˈspī-nəs \

Definition of spinous

1 a : spiny 2
  • a spinous plant
b : spiny 3
2 : difficult or unpleasant to handle or meet : thorny

spinous was our Word of the Day on 04/05/2008. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of spinous from the Web

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Did You Know?

English writers have been associating spines with things that are difficult to take since at least 1586, when the English dramatist Thomas Kyd used the word spiny to describe his "cares." "Spinous" took on its figurative use in 1638, when the phrase "spinous criticisms" appeared. "Thorny explications" followed shortly after that, in 1653. Emily Dickinson gets the credit for giving the word prickly its "troublesome" sense. In her 1862 poem that begins "The Child's faith is new," she wrote, "To hold mistaken / His pretty estimates / Of Prickly Things."

First Known Use of spinous

15th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Medical Dictionary

spinous

adjective spi·nous \ ˈspī-nəs \

medical Definition of spinous

: slender and pointed like a spine

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to treat with excessive attention

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