vertebrate

noun
ver·​te·​brate | \ ˈvər-tə-brət How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) , -ˌbrāt How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) \

Definition of vertebrate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any of a subphylum (Vertebrata) of chordates that comprises animals (such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes) typically having a bony or cartilaginous spinal column which replaces the notochord, a distinct head containing a brain which arises as an enlarged part of the nerve cord, and an internal usually bony skeleton and that includes some primitive forms (such as lampreys) in which the spinal column is absent and the notochord persists throughout life

vertebrate

adjective

Definition of vertebrate (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : having a spinal column
b : of or relating to the vertebrates
2 : organized or constructed in orderly or developed form

Examples of vertebrate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Researchers from the University College Cork in Ireland have discovered a new way to reconstruct the anatomy of ancient vertebrates by tracing melanin, which builds a map of a specimen's internal organs and soft tissue. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Learned How to Reconstruct Long-Extinct Animals," 20 Aug. 2019 Isotope analysis of 29 inland Neanderthals found little trace of freshwater vertebrates like fish or frogs. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthals suffered from a veritable epidemic of swimmer’s ear," 19 Aug. 2019 At least 680 vertebrate species have gone extinct in the last 400 years. Emily Holden, WIRED, "3 Animals Hurt By the New Endangered Species Act," 14 Aug. 2019 Since then, scientists have succeeded in rebuilding over half a sauropod, according to Le Parisien, along with other bone, fossil and vertebrate discoveries. Leah Asmelash And Brian Ries, CNN, "New bone, who dis? Paleontologists say this femur belongs to one of the biggest dinosaurs of all time," 26 July 2019 But a very small portion of female vertebrates are able to produce an offspring all on their own. Jason Bittel, Washington Post, "This lizard has no dad — here’s how," 30 June 2019 Understanding the mechanisms behind phenotypic plasticity is key to using it to help amphibians, which have already declined by 43 percent globally—the highest rate of diversity loss among vertebrates. Starre Vartan, National Geographic, "Meet the shape-shifting baby amphibians that become cannibals," 26 June 2019 Even rarer are those that destroy traps, limited among vertebrates to two groups of chimpanzees and mountain gorillas that disassemble poachers’ snares. Jake Buehler, Science | AAAS, "Watch an ant rip apart a spiderweb to rescue a sibling," 7 June 2019 The Permian-Triassic extinction event, known as the Great Dying, killed 96 percent of all marine species and 73 percent of terrestrial vertebrate species. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "The 'Great Dying': What made Earth's deadliest mass extinction so disastrous?," 28 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Underwater leviathans Freshwater ecosystems are generally less studied than their marine counterparts, despite being home to a third of all vertebrate species and nearly half of all fish species worldwide. Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic, "Earth’s largest freshwater creatures at risk of extinction," 8 Aug. 2019 The teeth were collected back in the 1970s, found in the Yukon’s Old Crow Basin—a place that has yielded over 50,000 vertebrate fossils representing more than 80 species. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "Prehistoric Hyena’s Teeth Show Bone-Crushing Carnivore Roamed the Arctic," 19 June 2019 Gardozo Vazquez is being held at the Newton County Jail on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty and a felony charge of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, police said. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Former Fair Oaks employee arrested; faces animal torture, cruelty charges," 12 June 2019 Edgar Gardozo-Vasquez, 36, of Brook, Indiana, was taken into custody on charges of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, and torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a felony. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "An arrest has been made in the Fair Oaks Farms animal cruelty case," 12 June 2019 Prosecutors had charged them Monday with misdemeanor beating of a vertebrate animal and arrest warrants were issued for the men. CBS News, "3 charged with animal cruelty in connection with undercover Fair Oaks Farms video," 11 June 2019 Gardozo-Vasquez, 36, was taken into custody on a warrant for charges of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, and torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a felony, the Newton County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. Ginger Rough, Indianapolis Star, "Suspect in Fair Oaks Farms animal abuse case was in country illegally, ICE says," 5 June 2019 Scientists just named the longest-living species of vertebrate animal. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "There Is a Shark That Can Live for 400 Years," 11 Aug. 2016 The project aims to be the most complete bird tree of life to date, and is the first to be done on a vertebrate animal group. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "What We Can Learn From a New Bird Tree of Life," 21 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vertebrate.' 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 vertebrate

Noun

1826, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1820, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vertebrate

Noun

New Latin Vertebrata, from neuter plural of vertebratus

Adjective

New Latin vertebratus, from Latin, jointed, from vertebra

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Statistics for vertebrate

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vertebrate

The first known use of vertebrate was in 1820

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More Definitions for vertebrate

vertebrate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vertebrate

biology : an animal that has a backbone

vertebrate

adjective
ver·​te·​brate | \ ˈvər-tə-brət How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) \

Kids Definition of vertebrate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having vertebrae or a backbone Mammals are vertebrate animals.

vertebrate

noun

Kids Definition of vertebrate (Entry 2 of 2)

: an animal (as a fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal) that has a backbone extending down the back of the body

vertebrate

adjective
ver·​te·​brate | \ ˈvərt-ə-brət How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) , -ˌbrāt How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) \

Medical Definition of vertebrate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having a spinal column
2 : of or relating to the subphylum Vertebrata

vertebrate

noun

Medical Definition of vertebrate (Entry 2 of 2)

: an animal of the subphylum Vertebrata

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