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.

Origin of thornback

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

Examples from the Web for thornback

Historical Examples of thornback

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
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