from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The thick, whitish cord of nerve tissue that extends from the medulla oblongata down through the spinal column and from which the spinal nerves branch off to various parts of the body.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A thick, whitish cord of nerve tissue which is a major part of the vertebrate central nervous system. It extends from the brain stem down through the spine, with nerves branching off to various parts of the body.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. the great nervous cord extending backward from the brain along the dorsal side of the spinal column of a vertebrate animal, and usually terminating in a threadlike appendage called the filum terminale; the spinal, or vertebral, marrow; the myelon. The nervous tissue consists of nerve fibers and nerve cells, the latter being confined to the so-called gray matter of the central portions of the cord, while the peripheral white matter is composed of nerve fibers only. The center of the cord is traversed by a slender canal connecting with the ventricles of the brain.

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

  • n. a major part of the central nervous system which conducts sensory and motor nerve impulses to and from the brain; a long tubelike structure extending from the base of the brain through the vertebral canal to the upper lumbar region


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Every segment of the vertebral column has two big nerves sprouting from the spinal cord on either side, called the dorsal root and the ventral root.


  • Saralee is agented for her book about her dog who became her caregiver after Saralee suffered a spinal cord injury, and her cat who kept her sane.

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  • Medically, I was a mess: multiple spinal cord contusions in my neck, deep-cord syndrome, and incomplete quadriplegia.

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  • “We found that if we just transplanted motor neurons into the spinal cord and did nothing else, then the surrounding neighborhood in the spinal cord—the white matter surrounding the spinal fluid, which is full of other, healthy myelinated axons—would see these motor neurons as foreign and reject them,” Kerr says.

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  • Dr. Oppenheim evaluated the patient and rushed him in for a delicate operation to stabilize his spine, but the spinal cord had been severed very high up.

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  • Also, as a fellow sufferer Mr. Reeve had set an example of how a spinal cord injury may disable the body but need not cripple the soul.

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  • The brain stem, a three-inch-long organ, joins the spinal cord with the rest of the brain.


  • For example, the main nerve trunk, which runs the length of the body on the ventral side (not the dorsal side, as the vertebrate spinal cord does), has a pair of ganglia (sort of mini-brains*) in each segment, from which sprout nerves supplying the segment.


  • Admittedly, the Oxford English Dictionary lists ‘chord’ as an alternative spelling for the string kind of cord, but the difference does seem queer given that the spinal cord and the notochord run the length of the embryonic body, one above the other.



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