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[in-vur-tuh-brit, -breyt] /ɪnˈvɜr tə brɪt, -ˌbreɪt/
  1. not vertebrate; without a backbone.
  2. of or relating to creatures without a backbone.
without strength of character.
an invertebrate animal.
a person who lacks strength of character.
Origin of invertebrate
1820-30; < New Latin invertebrātus. See in-3, vertebrate
Related forms
[in-vur-tuh-bruh-see] /ɪnˈvɜr tə brə si/ (Show IPA),
invertebrateness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for invertebrate
  • It is the first known case in which a human disease infected a marine invertebrate.
  • Many species of invertebrate have shells or skeletons made of calcium carbonate.
  • The giant sea spider, whose long mouthpart sucks the tissue out of its invertebrate prey.
  • Spiders are the dominant invertebrate predator in many land-based ecosystems.
  • But the lesson remains the same, whether it's an invertebrate squirming on the grill or a puppy.
  • He has created a remarkable series of images of previously invisible invertebrate fossils preserved in amber.
  • The invertebrate takes its name from the equally flashy terrestrial anemone flower.
  • The world's largest land invertebrate, the species can grow to three feet, measured from the tip of one leg to another.
  • The centipede is an invertebrate, or an animal without a spine.
  • But it was the other invertebrate lineages that would take the simple eyespot and turn it into something incredible.
British Dictionary definitions for invertebrate


/ɪnˈvɜːtɪbrɪt; -ˌbreɪt/
any animal lacking a backbone, including all species not classified as vertebrates
of, relating to, or designating invertebrates
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for invertebrate

1826, from Latin in- "not" (see in- (1)) + vertebra "joint" (see vertebra). Invertebrata as a biological classification was coined 1805 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832). As an adjective by 1838.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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invertebrate in Medicine

invertebrate in·ver·te·brate (ĭn-vûr'tə-brĭt, -brāt')

  1. Lacking a backbone or spinal column; not vertebrate.

  2. Of or relating to invertebrates.

An animal, such as an insect or a mollusk, that lacks a backbone or spinal column.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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invertebrate in Science
  (ĭn-vûr'tə-brĭt, -brāt')   
Adjective  Having no backbone or spinal column.

Noun  An animal that has no backbone or spinal column and therefore does not belong to the subphylum Vertebrata of the phylum Chordata. Most animals are invertebrates. Corals, insects, worms, jellyfish, starfish, and snails are invertebrates.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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