1848, coined in English by English anatomist Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) from chord + comb. form of Greek noton "back," from PIE *not- "buttock, back" (cf. Latin natis "buttock," sopurce of Italian, Spanish nalga, Old French nache "buttock, butt").
notochord no·to·chord (nō'tə-kôrd')
A flexible rodlike structure that forms the main support of the body in the lowest chordates; a primitive backbone.
A similar structure in embryos of higher vertebrates, from which the spinal column develops.
A flexible rodlike structure that forms the main support of the body in all chordates during some stage of their development. In vertebrates, the notochord develops into a true backbone in the embryonic phase. Primitive chordates, such as lancelets and tunicates, retain a notochord throughout their lives.