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spine

[spahyn] /spaɪn/
noun
1.
the spinal or vertebral column; backbone.
2.
any backbonelike part.
3.
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.
4.
something, as a quality or trait, that constitutes a principal strength; resolution; stamina; backbone:
a situation that would test a person's spine.
5.
a ridge, as of ground or rock.
6.
a sharp-pointed, hard or woody outgrowth on a plant; thorn.
7.
Bookbinding. the back of a book cover or binding, usually indicating the title and author.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin spīna thorn, backbone
Related forms
spined, adjective
spinelike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for spines
  • Six of the tentacles are paired with spines, while one is in front of the spines.
  • The base of the neck has spines which project upward and form a hump over the shoulders.
  • A large green sluglike experiment with three spines on his back.
  • The leaves are deeply lobed with long, stiff spines along the margins.
  • The plants often bear spines, especially those species growing in arid regions.
  • Cactus flowers are large, and like the spines and branches arise from areoles.
  • This venom is produced by glandular cells in the epidermal tissue covering the spines.
British Dictionary definitions for spines

spine

/spaɪn/
noun
1.
the spinal column
2.
the sharply pointed tip or outgrowth of a leaf, stem, etc
3.
(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
4.
the back of a book, record sleeve, etc
5.
a ridge, esp of a hill
6.
strength of endurance, will, etc
7.
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 spines

spine

n.

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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spines in Medicine

spine (spīn)
n.

  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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spines in Science
spine
  (spīn)   
  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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