spine
Pronunciation
  • (British, America) IPA: /spaɪn/
Noun

spine (plural spines)

  1. The series of bones situated at the back from the head to the pelvis of a person, or from the head to the tail of an animal; backbone, vertebral column.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, chapter 80:
      If you attentively regard almost any quadruped's spine, you will be struck with the resemblance of its vertebrae to a strung necklace of dwarfed skulls.
  2. Something resembling a backbone, such as a ridge, or a long, central structure from which other structures radiate.
    1. The narrow, bound edge of a book.
  3. A pointed, fairly rigid protuberance or needle-like structure on an animal, shell, or plant.
    • 1871, Charles Darwin, , chapter XII:
      The male, as Dr. Gunther informs me, has a cluster of stiff, straight spines, like those of a comb, on the sides of the tail.
  4. The heartwood of trees.
  5. (figurative) Courage or assertiveness.
  6. The stiffness of an arrow.
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