9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[spahyn] /spaɪn/
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.
Origin of spine
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin spīna thorn, backbone
Related forms
spined, adjective
spinelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spine
  • The dinosaurs were also relatively unique in the shape of their elongated spine rows.
  • Its spine, a sloping village lane, leads to an almost sacred view of the actual island.
  • 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.
  • In none of these cases was there measurable spine growth upon award of tenure.
  • The wedge-tail triggerfish protects itself with two sharp dorsal spines: a large, thick one and a shorter spine behind it.
  • In addition, the subjects underwent a procedure known as discography, in which a doctor injects fluid into the spine.
  • Some will get a normalized spine faster than others because each spine is better or worse than the spine of someone else.
  • These cells are a potential source of spare neurons that researchers might use to replace damaged brain or spine tissue.
  • The guys in the brain are called the upper motor neurons, and the guys in the spine are called the lower motor neurons.
British Dictionary definitions for spine


the spinal column
the sharply pointed tip or outgrowth of a leaf, stem, etc
(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
the back of a book, record sleeve, etc
a ridge, esp of a hill
strength of endurance, will, etc
anything resembling the spinal column in function or importance; main support or feature
Derived Forms
spined, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French espine spine, from Latin spīna thorn, backbone
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 spine

c.1400, "backbone," later "thornlike part" (early 15c.), from Old French espine (French épine), from Latin spina "backbone," originally "thorn, prickle," from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (cf. Latin spica "ear of corn," Old Norse spikr "nail;" see spike (n.1)). Meaning "the back of a book" is first attested 1922.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spine in Medicine

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.
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spine in Science
  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.
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