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  1. of, relating to, or belonging to a spine or thornlike structure, especially to the backbone.
  1. Medicine/Medical. a spinal anesthetic.

Origin of spinal

1570–80; < Late Latin spīnālis, equivalent to Latin spīn(a) spina + -ālis -al1
Related formsspi·nal·ly, adverbin·ter·spi·nal, adjectivenon·spi·nal, adjectivepre·spi·nal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spinal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He said that all such disturbances are acted upon in the spinal cord.

  • Balta said, and Murray felt the muzzle of the neuro-pistol on his spinal column.

    The Martian Cabal

    Roman Frederick Starzl

  • "Spinal meningitis," they said laconically, and they were taking him down to the hospital.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • The spinal distortion is one of the ordinary consequences of lacing.

    The Arena


  • He also got tired of waiting and suggested it might be some spinal trouble.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

British Dictionary definitions for spinal


  1. of or relating to the spine or the spinal cord
  2. denoting a laboratory animal in which the spinal cord has been severeda spinal rat
  1. short for spinal anaesthesia
Derived Formsspinally, adverb
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 spinal


1570s, from Late Latin spinalis, from spina (see spine).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spinal in Medicine


  1. Relating to or situated near the spinal column or spinal cord.
  2. Relating to any spine or spinous process.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

spinal in Science


  1. See vertebral column.
  2. Any of various pointed projections, processes, or appendages of animals.
  3. A sharp-pointed projection on a plant, especially a hard, narrow modified leaf, as on a cactus, that is adapted to reduce water loss. Compare thorn. See more at leaf.
Related formsspinal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.