Definition of vertebra
vertebraeplay play \ˈvər-tə-ˌbrā, -(ˌ)brē, -brə\ or
: 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
Recent Examples of vertebra from the Web
Autopsies showed both victims died from stab wounds to their necks and Best also had a fractured vertebra.
Doctors believed the vertebrae would heal without surgery, but that meant spending an extended period in bed and keeping movement to a minimum, all the while wearing a neck brace.
Nevertheless, the numerous toothmarks on the jaw, vertebrae, and ribs of the Astadelphis specimen confirm that it had been bitten by a large shark with smooth-sided, sharp teeth.
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.
Origin and Etymology of vertebra
Latin, joint, vertebra, from vertere to turn
First Known Use: 1578
VERTEBRA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vertebra for English Language Learners
: one of the small bones that are linked together to form the backbone
VERTEBRA Defined for Kids
Definition of vertebra for Students
: one of the bony sections making up the backbone
Word Root of vertebra
The Latin word vertere, meaning “to turn” or “to change,” and its form versus give us the roots vert and vers. Words from the Latin vertere have something to do with turning or changing. Anything versatile, or able to do or be used for many different things, can change its task easily. A vertebra is a bone in the spine that allows an animal to turn its head or body. To avert is to turn away. To divert is to turn aside onto a new path. To revert is to turn back to a former way of being.
Medical Definition of vertebra
vertebrae\-ˌbrā, -(ˌ)brē\play play or
: 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
Seen and Heard
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