vertebra

noun
ver·​te·​bra | \ ˈvər-tə-brə How to pronounce vertebra (audio) , -ˌbrā\
plural vertebrae\ ˈvər-​tə-​ˌbrā How to pronounce vertebrae (audio) , -​(ˌ)brē , -​brə How to pronounce vertebrae (audio) \ or vertebras

Definition of vertebra

: one of the bony or cartilaginous segments composing the spinal column, consisting in some lower vertebrates of several distinct elements which never become united, and in higher vertebrates having a short more or less cylindrical body whose ends articulate by pads of elastic or cartilaginous tissue with those of adjacent vertebrae and a bony arch that encloses the spinal cord

Examples of vertebra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

He was later diagnosed with a broken rib, three fractured vertebra and renal failure, which can be life-threatening. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "Suit: Clermont County officers beat defenseless inmate, breaking his spine in three places," 15 June 2019 The blow had crushed two vertebrae, ending his service. Washington Post, "For D-Day survivor, perhaps last trip to Omaha Beach," 12 June 2019 The fossil would turn out to include six neck vertebrae, part of the right shoulder blade, and most of the right forelimb. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, "The Most Massive of Dinos Evolved Earlier Than Previously Thought," 9 July 2018 Supersport: Valentin Debise won in his first race back since suffering two fractured vertebrae in a crash in the Daytona 200 in March. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Contact, a comeback and a crazy, overdue victory for motorcycle champ Cameron Beaubier," 2 June 2018 The ‘linked’ construction of the silk ruffles reminds me a lot of bones, specifically vertebrae—a link back to my love of anatomical structure. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "With Stitchless Garments Designer Katie Roberts-Wood Links Femininity to Strength," 20 Feb. 2019 The discs in your back are rubbery cushions in between your spinal vertebrae (interlocking bones). Korin Miller, SELF, "You Could Have a Herniated Disc Without Even Realizing It," 11 Sep. 2018 In 1990, the band’s bus crashed in the Pocono mountains, and Estefan sustained a broken vertebra in her back. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "5 Refugees Who Changed Modern American History," 20 June 2018 Speight passed for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016 but was sidelined after four games last fall with three broken vertebrae. Genaro C. Armas, The Seattle Times, "COLLEGE FOOTBALL ’18: Key transfers from Big House to Bayou," 6 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vertebra.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of vertebra

1578, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vertebra

Latin, joint, vertebra, from vertere to turn

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vertebra

Statistics for vertebra

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vertebra

The first known use of vertebra was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vertebra

vertebra

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vertebra

technical : one of the small bones that are linked together to form the backbone

vertebra

noun
ver·​te·​bra | \ ˈvər-tə-brə How to pronounce vertebra (audio) \
plural vertebrae\ -​ˌbrā , -​brē \

Kids Definition of vertebra

: one of the bony sections making up the backbone

vertebra

noun
ver·​te·​bra | \ ˈvərt-ə-brə How to pronounce vertebra (audio) \
plural vertebrae\ -​ˌbrā How to pronounce vertebrae (audio) , -​(ˌ)brē How to pronounce vertebrae (audio) \ or vertebras

Medical Definition of vertebra

: any of the bony or cartilaginous segments that make up the spinal column and that have a short more or less cylindrical body whose ends articulate by pads of elastic or cartilaginous tissue with those of adjacent vertebrae and a bony arch that encloses the spinal cord

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on vertebra

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vertebra

Spanish Central: Translation of vertebra

Nglish: Translation of vertebra for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vertebra for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vertebra

Comments on vertebra

What made you want to look up vertebra? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!