View synonyms for backbone


[ bak-bohn ]


  1. Anatomy. the spinal column; spine.
  2. strength of character; resolution.

    Synonyms: firmness, fortitude, decision

  3. something resembling a backbone in appearance, position, or function.
  4. Bookbinding. a back or bound edge of a book; spine.
  5. 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.
  6. Naval Architecture. the central fore-and-aft assembly of the keel and keelson, giving longitudinal strength to the bottom of a vessel.


/ ˈbækˌbəʊn /


  1. a nontechnical name for spinal column
  2. something that resembles the spinal column in function, position, or appearance
  3. strength of character; courage
  4. the main or central mountain range of a country or region
  5. nautical the main longitudinal members of a vessel, giving structural strength
  6. 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


/ băkbōn′ /


  1. 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.

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Other Words From

  • backboned adjective
  • backboneless adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of backbone1

1250–1300; Middle English bacbon. See back 1, bone ( def )
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Example Sentences

Small and midsize businesses make up the backbone of our economy.

From Fortune

Though new coins and privacy technologies have been emerging for years, Bitcoin and its public ledger remain “the backbone of the cryptocurrency economy,” says Janczewski.

Italy’s luxury sector is dominated by world-renowned brands from Gucci to Valentino and Versace, but it is tens of thousands of small family businesses that form the backbone of the country’s $93 billion fashion and leather industry.

From Ozy

The state and federal government cannot continue to leave behind the essential workers and taxpayers that serve as the backbone of our economy.

The tech giants’ fingerprints, brain power and dollars are all over the invisible backbone of the global internet.

Instead, straighten your civic backbone and push back in clear conscience.

She had been, he says, the backbone of their family and losing her shifted their entire emotional landscape.

She refused to participate in political bribery, which is the unspoken prerequisite backbone of this world.

With a backbone of steel, she matched her husband in intelligence, perseverance, and strength of spirit.

That timeline can serve as the backbone for the story our data tells.

Its backbone should be the study of biology and its substance should be the threshing out of the burning questions of our day.

He was Gascon to the backbone, and his tongue too often betrayed his most secret and his most transient thoughts.

I kept a stiff backbone for a while, but presently a futile rage against circumstances bubbled up and boiled over.

Isabel deigned no reply, and he took possession of a deep chair, settled himself on his backbone, and regarded her attentively.

Education, the "backbone" of cultural activities, is one of the most challenging current problems facing Virginia.


Related Words




back boilerbackbreaker