[in-vur-tuh-brit, -breyt]
not vertebrate; without a backbone.
of or pertaining to creatures without a backbone.
without strength of character.
an invertebrate animal.
a person who lacks strength of character.

1820–30; < Neo-Latin invertebrātus. See in-3, vertebrate

invertebracy [in-vur-tuh-bruh-see] , invertebrateness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
invertebrate (ɪnˈvɜːtɪbrɪt, -ˌbreɪt)
1.  any animal lacking a backbone, including all species not classified as vertebrates
2.  of, relating to, or designating invertebrates

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1826, coined from L. in- "not" + vertebra "joint." Invertebrata as a biological classification was coined 1805 by Fr. naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
invertebrate   (ĭn-vûr'tə-brĭt, -brāt')  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
invertebrates [(in-vur-tuh-bruhts, in-vur-tuh-brayts)]

Animals without backbones. (Compare vertebrates.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Some invertebrates, particularly insects, were also adversely affected.
But regulators with spine are still better than invertebrates.
The vegetation crowds out and smothers coral, invertebrates and other organisms
  native to ocean reefs.
Lesser known groups of invertebrates perished wholesale at the level of genera
  and families.
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