• synonyms


  1. a skate, Raja clavata, of European waters, having short spines on the back and tail.
  2. a California ray, Platyrhinoidis triseriatus, belonging to the guitarfish group.
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Origin of thornback

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at thorn, back1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thornback

Historical Examples

  • It is quite easy to understand why the name of thornback was given to him.

    The Animal World, A Book of Natural History

    Theodore Wood

  • The Thornback has two immense fins, two great wings to cleave the waves.

    The Sea

    Jules Michelet

  • The Thornback Skate is covered with prickles (placoid scales).

  • The boy gave a curious half-sad smile, without turning his eyes from the thornback, and said nothing.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • "Antient maides" were held in little esteem by him; not one thornback is on his list.

British Dictionary definitions for thornback


  1. a European ray, Raja clavata, having a row of spines along the back and tail
  2. a similar fish, Platyrhinoidis triseriata, of the Pacific Ocean
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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