spine / spīn/ •
n. 1. a series of vertebrae extending from the skull to the small of the back, enclosing the spinal cord and providing support for the thorax and abdomen; the backbone. ∎ fig. a thing's central feature or main source of strength: players who will form the spine of our team. ∎ fig. resolution or strength of character. ∎ the part of a book's jacket or cover that encloses the inner edges of the pages, facing outward when the book is on a shelf and typically bearing the title and the author's name.2. Zool. & Bot. any hard pointed defensive projection or structure, such as a prickle of a hedgehog, a spikelike projection on a sea urchin, a sharp ray in a fish's fin, or a spike on the stem of a plant. ∎ Geol. a tall mass of viscous lava extruded from a volcano.DERIVATIVES: spined adj. [in comb.] broken-spined paperbacks.
spine (vertebral column)
Backbone of vertebrates
, extending from the skull to the tip of the tail and enclosing the spinal cord
. The human spine consists of 26 vertebrae, interspersed with discs of cartilage
. It articulates with the skull
, ribs, and hip bones, and provides points of attachment for the back muscles.
See vertebral column
A hard pointed protective structure on a plant that is formed through modification of a leaf, part of a leaf, or a stipule. The edge of the holly leaf is drawn out into spines, but in cacti the whole leaf is modified as a spine. Compare prickle
spine (spyn) n. 1.
a sharp process on a bone. 2.
the vertebral column
backbone XIV (rare before XVII); thorn or thorn-like process XV. Aphetic — OF. epine
), or — its source L. spīna
thorn, prickle, backbone
A sharply pointed projection formed from all or part of a modified leaf.