vertebrate

[vur-tuh-brit, -breyt]

adjective

having vertebrae; having a backbone or spinal column.
belonging or pertaining to the Vertebrata (or Craniata), a subphylum of chordate animals, comprising those having a brain enclosed in a skull or cranium and a segmented spinal column; a major taxonomic group that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.

noun

a vertebrate animal.

Nearby words

  1. vertebral formula,
  2. vertebral nerve,
  3. vertebral rib,
  4. vertebral vein,
  5. vertebrata,
  6. vertebrated,
  7. vertebrated catheter,
  8. vertebrates,
  9. vertebration,
  10. vertebratus

Origin of vertebrate

First recorded in 1820–30, vertebrate is from the Latin word vertebrātus jointed. See vertebra, -ate1

Related formsnon·ver·te·brate, adjective, nounsub·ver·te·brate, noun, adjectiveun·ver·te·brate, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vertebrate


British Dictionary definitions for vertebrate

vertebrate

noun

any chordate animal of the subphylum Vertebrata, characterized by a bony or cartilaginous skeleton and a well-developed brain: the group contains fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals

adjective

of, relating to, or belonging to the subphylum Vertebrata
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 vertebrate

vertebrate

n.

1826, from Latin vertebratus (Pliny), from vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (see vertebra).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for vertebrate

vertebrate

[vûrtə-brĭt, -brāt′]

adj.

Having a spinal column.
Of or characteristic of a vertebrate.

n.

A member of the subphylum Vertebrata.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for vertebrate

vertebrate

[vûrtə-brĭt, -brāt′]

Any of a large group of chordates of the subphylum Vertebrata (or Craniata), characterized by having a backbone. Vertebrates are bilaterally symmetrical and have an internal skeleton of bone or cartilage, a nervous system divided into brain and spinal cord, and not more than two pairs of limbs. Vertebrates have a well-developed body cavity (called a coelom) containing a chambered heart, large digestive organs, liver, pancreas, and paired kidneys, and their blood contains both red and white corpuscles. Vertebrates include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.