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

The Newton County Sheriff's Office said Monday that misdemeanor charges for the beating of a vertebrate animal have been filed against three people related to the Fair Oaks Farms case. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Daywatch: Lightfoot downplays police union rumor she repeated, Obama Center's fate on the line and other things to know to start your day," 11 June 2019 Our hands came from the forelimbs of land vertebrates, which derived from the pectoral fins of fish. Frans De Waal, Discover Magazine, "Cheerful Chimps: Are Animals Really Happy When They Smile?," 31 May 2019 Before sequencing the octopus, scientists thought that only vertebrates had large numbers of these proteins. Quanta Magazine, "Biologists Search for New Model Organisms," 26 July 2016 The cells of invertebrates like insects, though, are quite different from vertebrates. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Tired: Eating Bugs. Wired: Eating Bug Meat Grown in a Lab," 3 June 2019 At Harvard University, teams led by Allon Klein, Marc Kirschner, and Sean Megason focused on zebrafish and frogs, two vertebrates that developmental biologists have studied for decades. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "How one cell gives rise to an entire body," 26 Apr. 2018 At some point, Makovicky says, sharks likely had bones more like other vertebrates, but eventually evolved a skeleton made out of soft cartilage. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "A New Shark Species Was Found in the Mud of Sue the T. Rex," 21 Jan. 2019 Scientists had diagrammed the somewhat smooth distributions of other tetrapods—vertebrates descended from the earliest four-limbed creatures. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, "Reptiles Are Concentrated in Specific Locations, Often Unprotected," 1 Apr. 2018 Elinor Karlsson, a co-author of the Nature paper and director of vertebrate genomics at the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the core problem is how consumer test results are being interpreted. Kim Kavin, The Seattle Times, "Don’t use dog DNA tests to make life-or-death decisions for your pet, experts warn," 30 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 But in an attempt to understand the evolution of RNA viruses, researchers have started to survey other vertebrate classes including fishes, amphibians and reptiles. Giorgia Guglielmi, Scientific American, "Huge Trove of Unknown Viruses Found in Fish, Frogs and Reptiles," 5 Apr. 2018 But Christopher Milensky, collections manager of vertebrate zoology, couldn't choose just one object. Jackson Landers, Smithsonian, "Why These Humans Are Museum Treasures, Too," 22 May 2017

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

22 Jun 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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