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’
    • ‘Geneticists will be able to track the same set of genes across a variety of species - say, the genes for backbones in vertebrates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The spine, hips and shoulders are literally the backbone of the body.’
    • ‘The spinal cord, a pathway for messages between the brain and the body, is protected by the backbone, or spinal column.’
    • ‘Your backbone (vertebral column) is actually a stack of more than 30 small bones called vertebrae.’
    • ‘Segments are the building blocks of arthropod bodies, vertebrae the building blocks of 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.’
    • ‘Both chickens and humans are vertebrates, a group of animals that have skulls and backbones.’
    • ‘The change was a huge evolutionary step that opened the way for vertebrates - animals with backbones - to emerge from the water.’
    • ‘Finally, ancestral archosaurs had a double row of bony plates (called scutes, or osteoderms) running along the backbone.’
    • ‘Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates, or animals with backbones, to flap their wings and fly.’
    • ‘This jawless mouth sets the lamprey and its cousin the hagfish apart from all other modern vertebrates - animals with backbones.’
    • ‘Snakes have hundreds of similar vertebrae in their backbones, as can be seen in the skeleton of a python embryo.’
    • ‘The researchers found horse skulls and backbones in the villages, indicating that horses were butchered on site.’
    • ‘This is a test where a needle is placed through the lower part of the back between the backbones and into the spinal column.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The function of the vertebrate backbone relies on an array of tissues, with variable composition and structure integrated into a multitude of configurations.’
    • ‘Spina bifida, often called open spine, affects the backbone and, sometimes, the spinal cord.’
    • ‘Scrunching up the backbone would bring the shoulder and pelvis closer together, while straightening the backbone would push them apart, he explained.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.
      • ‘Although the discussion above has been limited to the side chains, the peptide backbone also forms hydrogen bonds with the DPPC acceptor headgroups.’
      • ‘Third, specific interactions between the polar headgroups and chemical groups of the backbone and side chains of the peptide are missing from the model.’
      • ‘The protective mucus in the gastrointestinal tract consists of glycoproteins - a protein backbone with carbohydrate side chains.’
      • ‘It has been proposed that the photoexcited flavin molecule adds a cysteine residue of the protein backbone, thus activating autophosphorylation of the enzyme.’
      • ‘Thus, desmosterol can condense lipid bilayers as well as cholesterol in contrast to other sterols with modifications in the sterol backbone of the molecule.’
  • 2The chief support of a system or organization.

    ‘these firms are the backbone of our industrial sector’
    • ‘You must do it right because your staff are the backbone of your business.’
    • ‘He is really the backbone of the band, with his superlative drumming.’
    • ‘The interstate highway system is the backbone of our national economy - clearly, there's a need to support it.’
    • ‘Today, an access control system is the backbone of many organizations' total security plan.’
    • ‘Colin has volunteered at the museum for six years, and as with all the volunteers, is the backbone of the organisation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Farming is the backbone of this great nation and personifies the grit, determination, and values of America.’
    • ‘And the system, with few exceptions, still provides the backbone of professional education and development within the Army.’
    • ‘Public transportation should be made the backbone of the system.’
    • ‘Traditionally, skills of a given trade were transmitted from father to son thereby forming the backbone of the apprenticeship system.’
    • ‘‘The focus is on developing a core of strong domestic banks to be the backbone of the financial system,’ she said.’
    • ‘Her interest in school's not just a character trait - it's the backbone of the entire series.’
    • ‘Health insurers are the backbone of the system, since they pay the bills.’
    • ‘He cites his mother as his inspiration, support and the backbone of his success.’
    • ‘Since the beginning of time, women have been the support system and backbone for many of the great strides made by men.’
    • ‘Therefore, the backbone of the squad remains the same, which will probably not be enough to improve on last season's third place.’
    • ‘It is a problem that has to be addressed because the clubs are the backbone of the Association.’
    • ‘The Andes mountain range is the backbone of the country as well as the continent of South America.’
    • ‘Their relationship is the backbone of the series, and both actors are very strong in their roles.’
    • ‘Can't sophisticated people attack the computer systems that are the backbone of these big financial institutions?’
    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.’
      • ‘Character and backbone behind closed doors is why, among players, he is still respected.’
      • ‘The administration has two great strengths in its foreign policy: backbone, and clarity of vision.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If anything, the premier deserves a pat on the back for finally having enough backbone to speak the truth.’
      • ‘And maybe we'll have the spine and the backbone to get the job done.’
      • ‘Show some backbone, and apply some wisdom.’
      • ‘But what our party really has to have is some backbone.’
      • ‘Some call it individual initiative, others backbone.’
      • ‘And they have to see that I have the strength, the backbone and the character to be president.’
      • ‘What the football team needs now is a head coach with backbone and character.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tackling bigotry is not hard, but it does need some courage and backbone.’
      • ‘We have enough laws on the books; all we need is the backbone to enforce them.’
      • ‘That is one of the less pleasant sides of our character and it strongly suggests a lack of backbone.’
      • ‘What happened to the grit, the determination, the backbone?’
      • ‘He gave backbone to the other Democrats in the race.’
      • ‘I'll tell myself I just don't want to get into it, when the truth is, I have no backbone whatsoever.’
      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
  • 3Computing Telecommunications
    A high-speed, high-capacity digital connection which forms the axis of a local or wide area network.

    • ‘In addition, the network is configured with end-to-end redundancy from the customer premise equipment to the backbone network.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The purpose of the scheme was to cede provision of the Internet backbone network directly to commercial carriers.’
    • ‘Storing video on the edge of the network, instead of transmitting it along the backbone, can markedly reduce costs.’
    • ‘Smaller players can connect to their backbones via high-speed access lines, paying for a transit link to make the connection.’
    • ‘A good host company should offer its customers multiple connections to the Internet from its servers (also known as a backbone connection).’
    • ‘The first major project completed was the digital backbone network, which spans the entire country since its completion in February this year.’
    • ‘It is possible today to come up with small access systems, which could be connected to a backbone telecom 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘High-speed fiber-optic communication lines make up the Internet backbone, and this network could be extended to consumers.’
    • ‘Instead, data traffic travels through the IP backbone or another public network, which offers hackers enough opportunities for their work.’
    • ‘The same techniques can be adapted to route LSPs in a backbone network.’
    • ‘Messaging backbones, data and application integration, storage, network communications, and so on all provide the essential physical infrastructures for the everyday functioning of businesses.’
    • ‘The storage network backbone provides connectivity for hundreds of storage and application resources without wasting costly ports to connect other switches.’
    • ‘The next major breakthrough was to invest very heavily in the high-speed optical backbone network.’
    • ‘Villagers cannot afford to use the network even if the backbone transport and connection are free.’
    • ‘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 8Mb backbone was expected to provide a noticeable advancement in capacity over the area network backbone.’

Pronunciation

backbone

/ˈbakbəʊn/