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[noh-tuh-kawrd] /ˈnoʊ təˌkɔrd/
noun, Embryology.
a rodlike cord of cells that forms the chief axial supporting structure of the body of the lower chordates, as amphioxus and the cyclostomes, and of the embryos of the vertebrates.
Origin of notochord
1840-50; noto- + chord1 (in the sense of ‘a cordlike anatomical structure’)
Related forms
notochordal, adjective
subnotochordal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for notochord


a fibrous longitudinal rod in all embryo and some adult chordate animals, immediately above the gut, that supports the body. It is replaced in adult vertebrates by the vertebral column
Derived Forms
notochordal, adjective
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 notochord

1848, coined in English by English anatomist Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) from chord + comb. form of Greek noton "back," from PIE *not- "buttock, back" (cf. Latin natis "buttock," sopurce of Italian, Spanish nalga, Old French nache "buttock, butt").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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notochord in Medicine

notochord no·to·chord (nō'tə-kôrd')

  1. A flexible rodlike structure that forms the main support of the body in the lowest chordates; a primitive backbone.

  2. A similar structure in embryos of higher vertebrates, from which the spinal column develops.

no'to·chord'al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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notochord in Science
A flexible rodlike structure that forms the main support of the body in all chordates during some stage of their development. In vertebrates, the notochord develops into a true backbone in the embryonic phase. Primitive chordates, such as lancelets and tunicates, retain a notochord throughout their lives.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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