vertebrate

1 of 2

noun

ver·​te·​brate ˈvər-tə-brət How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) -ˌbrāt How to pronounce vertebrate (audio)
: 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

2 of 2

adjective

1
a
: 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
The giant creature was the first vertebrate to evolve the ability of flight and lived alongside dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era, which started around 252 million years ago. Jack Guy, CNN, 13 June 2024 The cells that make up hemolymph, known as hemocytes, act like white blood cells in vertebrates, carrying out functions such as eating potentially infectious bacteria and helping form clots over wounds. Elizabeth Rayne, Ars Technica, 8 Apr. 2024
Adjective
This does discourage insect, avian and vertebrate predators, at least to some extent. Dawn Pettinelli, Hartford Courant, 15 June 2024 Classified as vertebrate pests by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, these nocturnal feeders can significantly damage San Diego gardens, fruit trees and lawns. Michael Harrelson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for vertebrate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vertebrate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

New Latin Vertebrata, from neuter plural of vertebratus

Adjective

New Latin vertebratus, from Latin, jointed, from vertebra

First Known Use

Noun

1826, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1820, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of vertebrate was in 1820

Dictionary Entries Near vertebrate

Cite this Entry

“Vertebrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vertebrate. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

vertebrate

1 of 2 adjective
ver·​te·​brate ˈvərt-ə-brət How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) -ˌbrāt How to pronounce vertebrate (audio)
1
: having a spinal column
2
: of or relating to the vertebrates

vertebrate

2 of 2 noun
: any of a large group of chordates comprising animals (as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes) typically having a bony or cartilaginous backbone 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 including some primitive forms (as lampreys) in which the backbone is absent and the notochord persists throughout life

Medical Definition

vertebrate

1 of 2 noun
: a subphylum of chordates comprising animals (such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes) with a segmented spinal column together with a few primitive forms in which the backbone is represented by a notochord : an animal of the subphylum Vertebrata

vertebrate

2 of 2 adjective
ver·​te·​brate ˈvərt-ə-brət How to pronounce vertebrate (audio) -ˌbrāt How to pronounce vertebrate (audio)
1
: having a spinal column
2
: of or relating to the subphylum Vertebrata
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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