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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 invertebrates
  • Some invertebrates, particularly insects, were also adversely affected.
  • But regulators with spine are still better than invertebrates.
  • Most invertebrates-the vast majority of the animal kingdom-are abandoned when they are still eggs.
  • 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.
  • Some rain forest invertebrates, especially venomous ones, pose some risk to humans.
  • It is unknown if levels that low are dangerous to invertebrates living in the water, but they were detectable.
  • Underwater vegetation is important because it is a habitat for the aquatic invertebrates bluegill eat.
  • The nooks and crannies of coral formations themselves shelter sea urchins, crabs and other invertebrates.
  • Now new research indicates that invertebrates, too, possess higher cognitive functions.
British Dictionary definitions for invertebrates


/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 invertebrates



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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invertebrates 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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invertebrates 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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invertebrates in Culture
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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