Definition of backbone in English:

backbone

noun

  • 1The series of vertebrae extending from the skull to the pelvis; the spine.

    ‘prickles of sweat broke out along her backbone’
    figurative ‘the great Pennine range is the backbone of England’
    • ‘He had displayed so many varieties of them from the skull of cows, dogs and pigs, bones of a garden lizard, backbone and skull of a snake.’
    • ‘Geneticists will be able to track the same set of genes across a variety of species - say, the genes for backbones in vertebrates.’
    • ‘Xu notes that, except for exhibitions or scientific exchanges, it is against the law to export vertebrate fossils - fossils of animals with backbones - from China.’
    • ‘To fillet a cooked trout, remove the head then use a spoon and run it along the backbone of the flesh of the fish - this should loosen the fillets.’
    • ‘Snakes have hundreds of similar vertebrae in their backbones, as can be seen in the skeleton of a python embryo.’
    • ‘Segments are the building blocks of arthropod bodies, vertebrae the building blocks of backbones.’
    • ‘The spinal cord, a pathway for messages between the brain and the body, is protected by the backbone, or spinal column.’
    • ‘The researchers found horse skulls and backbones in the villages, indicating that horses were butchered on site.’
    • ‘Spina bifida, often called open spine, affects the backbone and, sometimes, the spinal cord.’
    • ‘Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates, or animals with backbones, to flap their wings and fly.’
    • ‘Scrunching up the backbone would bring the shoulder and pelvis closer together, while straightening the backbone would push them apart, he explained.’
    • ‘This jawless mouth sets the lamprey and its cousin the hagfish apart from all other modern vertebrates - animals with backbones.’
    • ‘Your backbone (vertebral column) is actually a stack of more than 30 small bones called vertebrae.’
    • ‘This is a test where a needle is placed through the lower part of the back between the backbones and into the spinal column.’
    • ‘Both chickens and humans are vertebrates, a group of animals that have skulls and backbones.’
    • ‘The findings will set them on a collision course with geneticists who argue that the evolution of humans and other vertebrates - animals with backbones - was driven by sudden changes in their genes.’
    • ‘The function of the vertebrate backbone relies on an array of tissues, with variable composition and structure integrated into a multitude of configurations.’
    • ‘The spine, hips and shoulders are literally the backbone of the body.’
    • ‘Finally, ancestral archosaurs had a double row of bony plates (called scutes, or osteoderms) running along the backbone.’
    • ‘The change was a huge evolutionary step that opened the way for vertebrates - animals with backbones - to emerge from the water.’
    spine, spinal column, vertebral column, vertebrae
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1US The spine of a book.
    2. 1.2Biochemistry The main chain of a polymeric molecule.
      • ‘The protective mucus in the gastrointestinal tract consists of glycoproteins - a protein backbone with carbohydrate side chains.’
      • ‘Although the discussion above has been limited to the side chains, the peptide backbone also forms hydrogen bonds with the DPPC acceptor headgroups.’
      • ‘Thus, desmosterol can condense lipid bilayers as well as cholesterol in contrast to other sterols with modifications in the sterol backbone of the molecule.’
      • ‘Third, specific interactions between the polar headgroups and chemical groups of the backbone and side chains of the peptide are missing from the model.’
      • ‘It has been proposed that the photoexcited flavin molecule adds a cysteine residue of the protein backbone, thus activating autophosphorylation of the enzyme.’
  • 2The chief support of a system or organization.

    ‘these firms are the backbone of our industrial sector’
    • ‘Colin has volunteered at the museum for six years, and as with all the volunteers, is the backbone of the organisation.’
    • ‘He cites his mother as his inspiration, support and the backbone of his success.’
    • ‘Therefore, the backbone of the squad remains the same, which will probably not be enough to improve on last season's third place.’
    • ‘I shall just point out very briefly some of the good things we have done in rural health, which supports the backbone of this country.’
    • ‘Health insurers are the backbone of the system, since they pay the bills.’
    • ‘He is really the backbone of the band, with his superlative drumming.’
    • ‘Their relationship is the backbone of the series, and both actors are very strong in their roles.’
    • ‘The interstate highway system is the backbone of our national economy - clearly, there's a need to support it.’
    • ‘Traditionally, skills of a given trade were transmitted from father to son thereby forming the backbone of the apprenticeship system.’
    • ‘The Andes mountain range is the backbone of the country as well as the continent of South America.’
    • ‘Farming is the backbone of this great nation and personifies the grit, determination, and values of America.’
    • ‘It is a problem that has to be addressed because the clubs are the backbone of the Association.’
    • ‘Public transportation should be made the backbone of the system.’
    • ‘Today, an access control system is the backbone of many organizations' total security plan.’
    • ‘‘The focus is on developing a core of strong domestic banks to be the backbone of the financial system,’ she said.’
    • ‘And the system, with few exceptions, still provides the backbone of professional education and development within the Army.’
    • ‘You must do it right because your staff are the backbone of your business.’
    • ‘Her interest in school's not just a character trait - it's the backbone of the entire series.’
    • ‘Can't sophisticated people attack the computer systems that are the backbone of these big financial institutions?’
    • ‘Since the beginning of time, women have been the support system and backbone for many of the great strides made by men.’
    mainstay, cornerstone, foundation, chief support, buttress, pillar
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1mass noun Strength of character.
      ‘he has enough backbone to see us through this difficulty’
      • ‘The characters have no backbone, the story little credibility or substance.’
      • ‘We have enough laws on the books; all we need is the backbone to enforce them.’
      • ‘What the football team needs now is a head coach with backbone and character.’
      • ‘But what our party really has to have is some backbone.’
      • ‘Character and backbone behind closed doors is why, among players, he is still respected.’
      • ‘She knew it wasn't her husband's fault that his employer's didn't pay him enough for the work he did, but she still wished that he would have enough backbone to try and find another job.’
      • ‘And maybe we'll have the spine and the backbone to get the job done.’
      • ‘You can really see a sense of proud independence with backbone, with artists who don't want to measure themselves by someone else's standards somewhere else.’
      • ‘What happened to the grit, the determination, the backbone?’
      • ‘That is one of the less pleasant sides of our character and it strongly suggests a lack of backbone.’
      • ‘He gave backbone to the other Democrats in the race.’
      • ‘Show some backbone, and apply some wisdom.’
      • ‘Some call it individual initiative, others backbone.’
      • ‘True, they have not that softness of speech which is said to be possessed by Londoners, but they have plenty of grit and backbone in their characters.’
      • ‘I'll tell myself I just don't want to get into it, when the truth is, I have no backbone whatsoever.’
      • ‘Tackling bigotry is not hard, but it does need some courage and backbone.’
      • ‘And they have to see that I have the strength, the backbone and the character to be president.’
      • ‘The administration has two great strengths in its foreign policy: backbone, and clarity of vision.’
      • ‘If anything, the premier deserves a pat on the back for finally having enough backbone to speak the truth.’
      • ‘But I want a strong man, backbone included, and there's this little part of me that thinks that if a guy can't pluck up the courage to make the first move, then what does that say about him?’
      strength of character, strength of will, firmness of purpose, firmness, resolution, resolve, determination, fortitude, mettle, moral fibre, spine, steel, nerve, spirit, pluck, pluckiness, courage, courageousness, bravery, braveness, valour, manliness
      View synonyms
  • 3Telecommunications Computing
    A high-speed, high-capacity digital connection which forms the axis of a local or wide area network.

    • ‘The first major project completed was the digital backbone network, which spans the entire country since its completion in February this year.’
    • ‘High-speed fiber-optic communication lines make up the Internet backbone, and this network could be extended to consumers.’
    • ‘The next major breakthrough was to invest very heavily in the high-speed optical backbone network.’
    • ‘The 8Mb backbone was expected to provide a noticeable advancement in capacity over the area network backbone.’
    • ‘Storing video on the edge of the network, instead of transmitting it along the backbone, can markedly reduce costs.’
    • ‘A good host company should offer its customers multiple connections to the Internet from its servers (also known as a backbone connection).’
    • ‘The storage network backbone provides connectivity for hundreds of storage and application resources without wasting costly ports to connect other switches.’
    • ‘Just as in rural areas of the United States, there is little commercial interest in extending the Internet backbone to rural areas in less developed countries.’
    • ‘Villagers cannot afford to use the network even if the backbone transport and connection are free.’
    • ‘Messaging backbones, data and application integration, storage, network communications, and so on all provide the essential physical infrastructures for the everyday functioning of businesses.’
    • ‘Carriers vie for global telecom domination, investing in state-of-the-art networks comprised of transcontinental backbones and transoceanic cables, but bandwidth paucity persists.’
    • ‘When you hear about the third-generation wireless networks, those backbones are going to be packet-based.’
    • ‘In addition, the network is configured with end-to-end redundancy from the customer premise equipment to the backbone network.’
    • ‘I heard from a number of wireless ISPs, too, though those are just as subject to the backbone connection cost issues and have scalability problems, too.’
    • ‘Smaller players can connect to their backbones via high-speed access lines, paying for a transit link to make the connection.’
    • ‘The same techniques can be adapted to route LSPs in a backbone network.’
    • ‘Instead, data traffic travels through the IP backbone or another public network, which offers hackers enough opportunities for their work.’
    • ‘It is possible today to come up with small access systems, which could be connected to a backbone telecom network.’
    • ‘The most intelligent storage network backbones are now being built with the connection-level intelligence necessary to present traffic patterns in a granular way.’
    • ‘The purpose of the scheme was to cede provision of the Internet backbone network directly to commercial carriers.’

Pronunciation

backbone

/ˈbakbəʊn/