Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lacking courage or willpower.
  • adjective Having no spines.
  • adjective Lacking a spinal column; invertebrate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having no spine or spinal column; invertebrate.
  • Having no backbone, vigor, or courage; limp; weak; nerveless.
  • Having the backbone flexible or supple.
  • In ichthyology, having no fin-spines; soft-finned; anacanthine; malacopterous: as, the spineless fishes, or Anacanthini.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Having no spine, or vertebral column.
  • adjective Having no thorns or barbs.
  • adjective lacking in strength of character; cowardly, in a physical or moral sense.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Having no spine
  • adjective uncourageous

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

  • adjective lacking a backbone or spinal column
  • adjective lacking thorns
  • adjective lacking spiny processes
  • adjective weak in willpower, courage or vitality

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

spine +‎ -less

Examples

  • To sum up this view in a single word: we wish we had a nickel for every time a blogger modified the word "moderate" with the word "spineless."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • She smiled as she made the word "spineless" into a compliment.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • The spineless is a little tame, but it's still a good foil for other vegetables and sauces.

    Hey, that worked okay!!!!!!!

  • Yorkshire, who were described as "spineless" by their director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, after they were routed inside three days by Warwickshire at Headingley last week, offered more spirited resistance here, led by Gary Ballance's championship-best 92 not out in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 149 with Adil Rashid, who ended the day on 62.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Your protesting Don's sarcastic comment, and his insistance on sticking with it, inspite of his "staying neutral" reminded me of Christ's enemies protesting what Pilate wrote (for fear that people would actually believe he was the "King of the Jews"), Pilate's refusal to change it and his previous "spineless" - ness.

    Sound Politics: KCGOP officers election

  • In the case of the president that is being called spineless and middling by the blood-thirsty and his supporters alike, the real or perceived truth hurts particularly when I leaned toward believing that advancing, maturing race relations manifested itself in the election of an unflappable guy who, loosely speaking, looked like me; a man who called my old neighborhood his home, too; and who shared my astrological lineage for what that's worth, given that we were born a day apart.

    Derrick K. Baker: Has the Real Obama Already Stood Up?

  • In the case of the president that is being called spineless and middling by the blood-thirsty and his supporters alike, the real or perceived truth hurts particularly when I leaned toward believing that advancing, maturing race relations manifested itself in the election of an unflappable guy who, loosely speaking, looked like me; a man who called my old neighborhood his home, too; and who shared my astrological lineage for what that's worth, given that we were born a day apart.

    Derrick K. Baker: Has the Real Obama Already Stood Up?

  • And being spineless is going to get them voted out of office if they don’t change and start going on the offensive.

    Think Progress » The ‘facts’ of the Christmas Day plot are ‘clear’ — to everyone except John McCain.

  • January 15, 2010 5: 24 PM in reply to Indie Pro and when they don't, they are called spineless by their own "supporters".

    Barney Frank: 'If Scott Brown Wins, It'll Kill The Health Bill'

  • The guy is either off his head, more than the normal kind of spineless or has confessed that under his command the streets in his area are now completely lawless.

    Inspector Gadget – 3 Million Hits! « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

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