[ bak-bohn ]
/ ˈbækˌboʊn /


Anatomy. the spinal column; spine.
strength of character; resolution.
something resembling a backbone in appearance, position, or function.
Bookbinding. a back or bound edge of a book; spine.
Nautical. a rope running along the middle of an awning, as a reinforcement and as an object to which a supporting bridle or crowfoot may be attached.
Naval Architecture. the central fore-and-aft assembly of the keel and keelson, giving longitudinal strength to the bottom of a vessel.

Origin of backbone

1250–1300; Middle English bacbon. See back1, bone


backboned, adjectivebackboneless, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for backbone

British Dictionary definitions for backbone

/ (ˈbækˌbəʊn) /


a nontechnical name for spinal column
something that resembles the spinal column in function, position, or appearance
strength of character; courage
the main or central mountain range of a country or region
nautical the main longitudinal members of a vessel, giving structural strength
computing (in computer networks) a large-capacity, high-speed central section by which other network segments are connected
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

Medical definitions for backbone

[ băkbōn′ ]


spinal column
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for backbone

[ băkbōn′ ]

See vertebral column.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for backbone


The primary line(s) that connects the slower, shorter cable portions of a communications network together. (See last mile.) In larger networks, such as the Internet, a backbone consists of high-capacity, high-speed lines that can extend over great distances.

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.