vertebrate

[vur-tuh-brit, -breyt]
adjective
1.
having vertebrae; having a backbone or spinal column.
2.
belonging or pertaining to the Vertebrata (or Craniata), a subphylum of chordate animals, comprising those having a brain enclosed in a skull or cranium and a segmented spinal column; a major taxonomic group that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.
noun
3.
a vertebrate animal.

Origin:
1820–30; < Latin vertebrātus jointed. See vertebra, -ate1

nonvertebrate, adjective, noun
subvertebrate, noun, adjective
unvertebrate, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
vertebrate (ˈvɜːtɪˌbreɪt, -brɪt)
 
n
1.  any chordate animal of the subphylum Vertebrata, characterized by a bony or cartilaginous skeleton and a well-developed brain: the group contains fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals
 
adj
2.  of, relating to, or belonging to the subphylum Vertebrata

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

vertebrate
1826, from L. vertebratus (Pliny), from vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (see vertebra).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

vertebrate ver·te·brate (vûr'tə-brĭt, -brāt')
adj.

  1. Having a spinal column.

  2. Of or characteristic a vertebrate.

n.
A member of the subphylum Vertebrata.
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
vertebrate   (vûr'tə-brĭt, -brāt')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of a large group of chordates of the subphylum Vertebrata (or Craniata), characterized by having a backbone. Vertebrates are bilaterally symmetrical and have an internal skeleton of bone or cartilage, a nervous system divided into brain and spinal cord, and not more than two pairs of limbs. Vertebrates have a well-developed body cavity (called a coelom) containing a chambered heart, large digestive organs, liver, pancreas, and paired kidneys, and their blood contains both red and white corpuscles. Vertebrates include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
vertebrates [(vur-tuh-bruhts, vur-tuh-brayts)]

Animals that have a spinal cord enclosed in a backbone.

Note: The five traditional classes of vertebrates are amphibians, birds, fishes, mammals, and reptiles. (Compare invertebrates.)
Note: Human beings are 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
Ostriches primarily eat vegetable matter, but they are omnivores that will snap
  up insects and small vertebrates alike.
Indeed, the project's main aim is to explain how vertebrates use perception to
  guide their movements.
The species that are being lost rapidly are the large vertebrates that
  conservationists were worried about in the first place.
In vertebrates this protein is found in retinal cells, where it transduces the
  energy of light into a nerve signal to the brain.
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