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  1. belonging or pertaining to the phylum Chordata, comprising the true vertebrates and those animals having a notochord, as the lancelets and tunicates.
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  1. a chordate animal.
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Origin of chordate

First recorded in 1885–90; see origin at Chordata
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chordates

Historical Examples

  • A larger portion of the guide is given to the chordates than is usually the case.

    A Guide for the Study of Animals

    Worrallo Whitney

British Dictionary definitions for chordates


  1. any animal of the phylum Chordata, including the vertebrates and protochordates, characterized by a notochord, dorsal tubular nerve cord, and pharyngeal gill slits
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  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the Chordata
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Word Origin

C19: from Medieval Latin chordata; see chord 1 + -ate 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chordates


1885, noun and adjective, from Chordata.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chordates in Medicine


(kôrdāt′, -dĭt)
  1. An animal of the phylum Chordata, which includes all vertebrates.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

chordates in Science


  1. Any of a large group of animals of the phylum Chordata, having at some stage of development a notochord (flexible spinal column) and nerve cord running along the back, a tail stretching above and behind the anus, and gill slits. Chordates probably evolved before the Cambrian Period and are related to the hemichordates, echinoderms, and chaetognaths. The vertebrates, tunicates, and cephalochordates are the three main groups of chordates.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

chordates in Culture


[(kawr-dayts, kawr-duhts)]

Animals that have a central nerve like the human spinal cord.

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Chordates make up a phylum in the animal kingdom that includes all the vertebrates, along with some primitive wormlike sea animals. (See Linnean classification.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.