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[in-vur-tuh-brit, -breyt] /ɪnˈvɜr tə brɪt, -ˌbreɪt/
  1. not vertebrate; without a backbone.
  2. of or relating to creatures without a backbone.
without strength of character.
an invertebrate animal.
a person who lacks strength of character.
Origin of invertebrate
From the New Latin word invertebrātus, dating back to 1820-30. See in-3, vertebrate
Related forms
[in-vur-tuh-bruh-see] /ɪnˈvɜr tə brə si/ (Show IPA),
invertebrateness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for invertebrate
Historical Examples
  • I can see you are accustomed to invertebrate admirers who spoil you.

    The Twelfth Hour

    Ada Leverson
  • We are invertebrate, and on the evil day we are not able to stand.

  • After all, was the fellow quite so invertebrate as he had sometimes seemed?

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • First invertebrate life, then the lowest forms of vertebrate life.

    The Prehistoric World E. A. Allen
  • It avoids the invertebrate flow of thought that is unaware of structure.

    Expository Writing Mervin James Curl
  • Bipin sank an invertebrate bundle of humanity to the ground.

  • They are gone, and we are left—an unprejudiced, but an invertebrate and a flaccid, generation.

    Seeing and Hearing George W. E. Russell
  • Let us now inquire what the invertebrate fauna of the Alps teaches us.

  • The mouth in the vertebrates does not agree in character with the invertebrate mouth.

    Degeneracy Eugene S. Talbot
  • Bebelle, round as a tortoise, belonged to the genus of invertebrate females.

    Sons of the Soil Honore de Balzac
British Dictionary definitions for invertebrate


/ɪnˈvɜːtɪbrɪt; -ˌbreɪt/
any animal lacking a backbone, including all species not classified as vertebrates
of, relating to, or designating invertebrates
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
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Word Origin and History for invertebrate

1826, from Latin in- "not" (see in- (1)) + vertebra "joint" (see vertebra). Invertebrata as a biological classification was coined 1805 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832). As an adjective by 1838.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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invertebrate in Medicine

invertebrate in·ver·te·brate (ĭn-vûr'tə-brĭt, -brāt')

  1. Lacking a backbone or spinal column; not vertebrate.

  2. Of or relating to invertebrates.

An animal, such as an insect or a mollusk, that lacks a backbone or spinal column.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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invertebrate in Science
  (ĭn-vûr'tə-brĭt, -brāt')   
Adjective  Having no backbone or spinal column.

Noun  An animal that has no backbone or spinal column and therefore does not belong to the subphylum Vertebrata of the phylum Chordata. Most animals are invertebrates. Corals, insects, worms, jellyfish, starfish, and snails are invertebrates.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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