[ spahyn-lis ]
/ ˈspaɪn lɪs /


having no spines or quills.
having no spine or backbone.
having a weak spine; limp.
without moral force, resolution, or courage; feeble: a spineless, lily-livered coward.

Origin of spineless

First recorded in 1820–30; spine + -less
Related formsspine·less·ly, adverbspine·less·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spineless

British Dictionary definitions for spineless


/ (ˈspaɪnlɪs) /


lacking a backbone; invertebrate
having no spiny processesspineless stems
lacking strength of character, resolution, or courage
Derived Formsspinelessly, adverbspinelessness, noun
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 spineless



1827, of animals, from spine + -less. Meaning "lacking moral force" is from 1885. Related: Spinelessly; spinelessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper