the spinal or vertebral column; backbone.
any backbonelike part.
a stiff, pointed process or appendage on an animal, as a quill of a porcupine, or a sharp, bony ray in the fin of a fish.
something, as a quality or trait, that constitutes a principal strength; resolution; stamina; backbone: a situation that would test a person's spine.
a ridge, as of ground or rock.
a sharp-pointed, hard or woody outgrowth on a plant; thorn.
Bookbinding. the back of a book cover or binding, usually indicating the title and author.

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin spīna thorn, backbone

spined, adjective
spinelike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Spine
World English Dictionary
spine (spaɪn)
1.  the spinal column
2.  the sharply pointed tip or outgrowth of a leaf, stem, etc
3.  zoology a hard pointed process or structure, such as the ray of a fin, the quill of a porcupine, or the ridge on a bone
4.  the back of a book, record sleeve, etc
5.  a ridge, esp of a hill
6.  strength of endurance, will, etc
7.  anything resembling the spinal column in function or importance; main support or feature
[C14: from Old French espine spine, from Latin spīna thorn, backbone]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1400, "backbone," later "thornlike part" (1430), from O.Fr. espine (Fr. épine), from L. spina "backbone," originally "thorn, prickle," from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (cf. L. spica "ear of corn," O.N. spikr "nail;" see spike (n.1)). Meaning "the back of a book" is first
attested 1922. Spineless in fig. sense of "irresolute" is from 1885. Spine-chiller "mystery film" is attested from 1940; spine tingler in same sense is from 1942.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

spine (spīn)

  1. See spinal column.

  2. Any of various short pointed projections, processes, or appendages of bone.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spine   (spīn)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. See vertebral column.

  2. Any of various pointed projections, processes, or appendages of animals.

  3. A sharp-pointed projection on a plant, especially a hard, narrow modified leaf, as on a cactus, that is adapted to reduce water loss. Compare thorn. See more at leaf.

spinal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The dinosaurs were also relatively unique in the shape of their elongated spine
Its spine, a sloping village lane, leads to an almost sacred view of the actual
Certainly its exterior has not aged well, but the interior is spectacular in
  many places, especially along the main spine.
The lover's neck is bent at an impossible angle, suggesting either that his
  spine is broken or that he is made of rubber.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature