from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a broken back
  • adj. Drooping at each end because of a damaged spine
  • adj. Decrepit, weakened

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a broken back.
  • adj. Hogged; so weakened in the frame as to droop at each end; -- said of a ship.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having the back broken, in any sense of the noun back: as, a broken-backed book.
  • Specifically Nautical, hogged: descriptive of the condition of a ship when, from faulty construction or from grounding, her frame becomes so loosened as to cause both ends to droop.
  • Of a horse, a loose term for *hollow-backed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of a ship) so weakened as to sag at each end
  • adj. (of a horse) having bones of the back united by a bony growth
  • adj. having the spine damaged


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Yet the drama, in Alexander Medvedev's libretto, excellently translated by Pountney, is at times broken-backed.

    The Passenger; Don Giovanni; Faust – review

  • People sat here and there in broken-backed kitchen chairs, sipping tea under the shade of bamboo and burlap.

    Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

  • Iran is no broken-backed land enfeebled by decades of war and sanctions.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Under the peculiar division of federal and provincial powers in the Canadian constitution, a broken-backed form of Prohibition had settled over the Dominion four years before the bone-dry version reached the United States.


  • I had massacred one of his greatest works with my dreadful broken-backed portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar back at Berkeley, but I knew that I was destined to play the role again, and I believed I would find redemption in the second attempt.

    Full Frontal Nudity

  •  Charlotte's Web, which we'd been reading together at bedtime all that week, lay splayed broken-backed on the floor where she'd thrown it.

    Magnificent Pigs

  • Kurosawa was silent as we traipsed through the destruction, carefully side-stepping piles of sodden pages and heaps of swollen, broken-backed texts.

    Record of a Living Being

  • From mid-2003 to Rumsfeld's departure at the end of 2006, then, administration policy in Iraq was broken-backed.

    McNamara, Rumsfeld and the Fog of War

  • Arguments for a more adequate representation of conservatives on university faculties are as broken-backed as arguments that conservatives should just accept their exclusion because “We won, you lost.”

    Conservatives and the university

  • The concept of the paradigm is axiomatic in a certain broken-backed style of criticism wildly popular in academic departments of English, where Seal memorized his errors a few years ago.

    Archive 2009-12-01


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