AskDefine | Define spine

Dictionary Definition



1 the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord; "the fall broke his back" [syn: spinal column, vertebral column, backbone, back, rachis]
2 any pointed projection [syn: spur]
3 a sharp-pointed tip on a stem or leaf [syn: thorn, prickle, pricker, sticker]
4 a sharp rigid animal process or appendage; as a porcupine quill or a ridge on a bone or a ray of a fish fin

User Contributed Dictionary



From espine (modern: épine).



  1. A person or thing's backbone; the series of bones collectively from one's (literal or figurative) head to tail or pelvis.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 80,
    • :If you attentively regard almost any quadruped's spine, you will be struck with the resemblance of its vertebrae to a strung necklace of dwarfed skulls.
  2. A rigid, pointed surface protuberance or needle-like structure on an animal, shell, or plant.
  3. Courage or assertiveness.
    • 2001, Sydney I. Landau, Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, Cambridge University Press (ISBN 0-521-78512-X), page 409,
    • :Trademark Owners will nevertheless try to dictate how their marks are to be represented, but dictionary publishers with spine can resist such pressure.
  4. The narrow, bound edge of a book.
    • Powells Book's, rare books basics,
    • :Because the spine is generally all you can see when a book is on the shelf, the spine displays the title and author of the book and is often ornately decorated.


rigid, pointed surface protuberance or needle-like structure on an animal, shell, or plant
metaphor for courage or assertiveness
bound edge of a book




  1. Plural of spina

Extensive Definition

Spine or Spinal may refer to:

Science and medicine

Other uses

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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