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

  • adjective Having a backbone or spinal column.
  • adjective Of or characteristic of vertebrates or a vertebrate.
  • noun Any of numerous chordate animals of the subphylum Vertebrata, characterized by a segmented spinal column and a distinct well-differentiated head. The vertebrates include the fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make a vertebrate of; give a backbone to; hence, figuratively, to give firmness or resolution to.
  • Having vertebræ; characterized by the possession of a spinal column; backboned; in a wider sense, having a notochord, or chorda dorsalis; chordate; specifically, of or pertaining to the Vertebrata. Also vertebrated, and (rarely) vertebral.
  • Same as vertebral: as, a vertebrate theory of the skull.
  • In botany, contracted at intervals, like the vertebral column of animals, there being an articulation at each contraction, as in some leaves.
  • noun A vertebrated animal; any member of the Vertebrata, or, more broadly, of the Chordata: as, ascidians are supposed to be vertebrates.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) One of the Vertebrata.
  • adjective (Anat.) Having a backbone, or vertebral column, containing the spinal marrow, as man, quadrupeds, birds, amphibia, and fishes.
  • adjective (Bot.) Contracted at intervals, so as to resemble the spine in animals.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) Having movable joints resembling vertebræ; -- said of the arms of ophiurans.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) Of or pertaining to the Vertebrata; -- used only in the form vertebrate.

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

  • adjective Having a backbone.
  • noun An animal having a backbone.

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

  • adjective having a backbone or spinal column
  • noun animals having a bony or cartilaginous skeleton with a segmented spinal column and a large brain enclosed in a skull or cranium


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

[Latin vertebrātus, having joints, from vertebra, vertebra; see vertebra.]


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