from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of the bones or cartilaginous segments forming the spinal column.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of the small bones which make up the backbone.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. One of the serial segments of the spinal column.
- n. One of the central ossicles in each joint of the arms of an ophiuran.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Vertebrata, any bone of the spine; any segment of the backbone. See backbone and spine.
- n. In echinoderms, any one of the numerous axial ossicles of the arms of starfishes. See vertebral, a.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. one of the bony segments of the spinal column
Middle English, from Latin, from vertere, to turn; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin vertebra ("joint"), from vertere, "to turn". Having multiple vertebrae (plural of vertebra) in one's backbone instead of having a single bone or solid spine, allows for the movement of the body with bends and turns. Hence meaning 1. (Wiktionary)