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 Frogs have the biggest eyes of any vertebrate in relation to their body size. Popular Science, "What hundreds of pickled frog carcasses can tell us about their enormous eyes," 1 Oct. 2020 Whale sharks, the largest non-mammal vertebrate in the world, have small teeth covering their eyeballs, researchers in Japan have discovered. Fox News, "Whale sharks have eyes that are covered in teeth, researchers find," 2 July 2020 For this new study, the authors examined thousands of species and found that 515 species of terrestrial vertebrates are on the brink of extinction, each with fewer than 1,000 individuals remaining. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "With more species at risk of extinction, study warns of "biological annihilation"," 1 June 2020 Birds and people, vertebrates of a feather, flocking together. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "On the bright side: Bay Area stories about the birds and the bees," 31 May 2020 The specimen, discovered in 2015 by Swedish vertebrate paleontologist Dr. Thomas Mörs, is most likely related to a species currently living in South America. Fox News, "Fossil shows cold-blooded frogs lived on warm Antarctica," 26 Apr. 2020 In death, mussels still play a role in the ecosystem, feeding muskrats, raccoons, and other riverside vertebrates. Marion Renault, Wired, "Freshwater Mussels Are Dying—Which Is the Likeliest Culprit?," 18 Apr. 2020 Such light pollution, which shines with an intensity and composition not found in nature, has been shown to disrupt the hormone production and metabolism of many vertebrate species, including fish—and humans. Chiara Eisner, Scientific American, "Arctic Exploitation May Harm Animals Large and Small," 5 Mar. 2020 To truly test that theory, more fossils are needed, says Lene Liebe Delsett, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Oslo who wasn’t involved in the study. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "215-Million-Year-Old, Sharp-Nosed Sea Creature Was Among the Last of Its Kind," 5 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Additionally, the group of biologists from the Natural History Museum in London found that frogs have the biggest eyes of any vertebrate animal in relation to their body size. Popular Science, "What hundreds of pickled frog carcasses can tell us about their enormous eyes," 1 Oct. 2020 Our latest work took this research a step farther by testing how a disturbance such as climate warming could influence these food webs that help ensure the health of vertebrate microbiomes in the wild. Sasha Greenspan, The Conversation, "Climate warming is altering animals’ gut microbes, which are critical to their health and survival," 28 Sep. 2020 While amber containing dinosaurs and other vertebrate fossils is rare and does command high prices, amber containing smaller specimens like plants and insects are often sold for less than $100, according to the authors. Katie Hunt, CNN, "'Blood amber:' A portal into dinosaur times but an ethical minefield for paleontologists," 19 Sep. 2020 To determine how many species are being driven towards oblivion, the authors looked at the populations of 29,400 land vertebrate species, reports Yessenia Funes for Gizmodo. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Already Unprecedented Rate of Wildlife Extinctions Is Accelerating," 3 June 2020 At least 543 species of vertebrate land animals were lost to extinction in the last century, according to the paper, published this week in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Already Unprecedented Rate of Wildlife Extinctions Is Accelerating," 3 June 2020 The Living Planet Index, the backbone of the report, measures the size of vertebrate populations. Eric Roston, Bloomberg.com, "Animal Populations Fell by 68% in 50 Years and It’s Getting Worse," 9 Sep. 2020 So the fossil was stored at the department of vertebrate paleontology at the Museo de Historia Natural-UNMSM in Lima, where Salas-Gismondi is also a curator. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "13 million-year-old bite marks on fossil reveal 'strongest bite force ever measured in the animal kingdom'," 25 Aug. 2020 Parthenogenesis has been observed in more than 80 vertebrate species, about half of which are fish or lizards. Corryn Wetzel, National Geographic, "How some animals have ‘virgin births’: Parthenogenesis explained," 25 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for vertebrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of vertebrate was in 1820

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Statistics for vertebrate

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vertebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vertebrate. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for vertebrate

vertebrate

noun
How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) How to pronounce vertebrate (audio)

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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