• synonyms


[in-vur-tuh-brit, -breyt]
See more synonyms for invertebrate on Thesaurus.com
  1. Zoology.
    1. not vertebrate; without a backbone.
    2. of or relating to creatures without a backbone.
  2. without strength of character.
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  1. an invertebrate animal.
  2. a person who lacks strength of character.
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Origin of invertebrate

From the New Latin word invertebrātus, dating back to 1820–30. See in-3, vertebrate
Related formsin·ver·te·bra·cy [in-vur-tuh-bruh-see] /ɪnˈvɜr tə brə si/, in·ver·te·brate·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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.

  • It avoids the invertebrate flow of thought that is unaware of structure.

    Expository Writing

    Mervin James Curl

British Dictionary definitions for invertebrate


  1. any animal lacking a backbone, including all species not classified as vertebrates
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adjective Also: in'vertebral
  1. of, relating to, or designating invertebrates
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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 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

invertebrate in Medicine


(ĭn-vûrtə-brĭt, -brāt′)
  1. Lacking a backbone or spinal column; not vertebrate.
  2. Of or relating to invertebrates.
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  1. An animal, such as an insect or a mollusk, that lacks a backbone or spinal column.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

invertebrate in Science


[ĭn-vûrtə-brĭt, -brāt′]
  1. Having no backbone or spinal column.
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  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.