Definition of spineless in English:



  • 1Having no spine or backbone; invertebrate.

    • ‘It remains a lifeless and spineless human creation.’
    • ‘It splats against your ears like the spineless sea creatures that crawl across its back cover.’
    • ‘To tease out the details of the transition, other researchers recently turned to lancelets, vertebrates' closest spineless relatives.’
    • ‘The lowly Zayante band-winged grasshopper is now listed, along with the Ohlone tiger beetle and 184 other spineless creatures.’
  • 2Lacking resolution; weak and purposeless.

    ‘a spineless coward’
    • ‘Shortsighted tyrants, spineless power-mongers and heartless thugs vie egomaniacally, dangerously, for power.’
    • ‘He described career envoys as weak or spineless.’
    • ‘If I'm weak for showing my feelings, then you're weak and spineless for hiding them.’
    • ‘While most reporters these days are generally spineless weenies, I was under the impression that the job of the press is to question, not kiss ass.’
    • ‘This government is the most spineless, intellectually dishonest, corrupt, incompetent and callous administration this Federation has ever known.’
    • ‘But now, he was saddled with these spineless ragamuffins, who followed his orders still, but did it with downcast scared eyes and pale faces, people who wouldn't be here if they had anywhere else to go.’
    • ‘Sure, they have vegetable plates too, if you're weak and spineless.’
    • ‘But because I'm fundamentally weak and spineless, I find it awfully difficult to be similarly critical about the heroic efforts of a mere one-man band.’
    • ‘I was too much of a spineless wuss to go after you.’
    • ‘When she realized she wasn't getting any response from her husband, Christine turned her attention to her son, determined that he wasn't going to end up a soft-hearted, spineless man like his father.’
    • ‘I immediately ruled out those brown-nosers, though; spineless obedience is nice, but I couldn't depend on them to carry out dangerous tasks.’
    • ‘Ofelia, who was used to being the boss all the time, would now have to obey every word that was uttered from Stolly - a weak, spineless, cowardly man in her mind.’
    • ‘Raised in a tough household by a temperamental father and a spineless mother, Stu showed a genius for all card games at an early age, regularly cleaning the pockets of men his father's age in side games.’
    • ‘While the dissidents have been exposed for the second time as thoroughly weak and spineless, Howard's fears about his future are nevertheless well-founded.’
    • ‘This will teach him a lesson for being such a spineless wimp and show the lady the error of her sick-makingly sentimental ways.’
    • ‘That's comforting - if you're a spineless, codependent imbecile.’
    • ‘I don't want to sound pessimistic, but the majority of people living in this age, including myself, could be described as spineless.’
    • ‘She still seemed weak and spineless to me, and she was obviously used to men making all her decisions and even all her excuses for her.’
    • ‘They have been called aloof, spineless, uncoordinated, strung out, two-faced, puny and spastic - and by some of the most respected scientists in the world.’
    weak, weak-willed, weak-kneed, feeble, spiritless, soft, ineffectual, inadequate, irresolute, indecisive
    cowardly, timid, timorous, fearful, faint-hearted, pusillanimous, craven, submissive, unmanly, namby-pamby, lily-livered, chicken-hearted, limp-wristed, afraid of one's shadow
    wimpish, wimpy, sissy, sissified, chicken, yellow, yellow-bellied, gutless, pathetic
    candy-assed, chickenshit
    poor-spirited, recreant
    View synonyms
  • 3(of an animal or plant) lacking spines.

    ‘spineless forms of prickly pear have been selected’
    • ‘Of the weird rodent he likens to a spineless porcupine, Timmins added, ‘Nobody could have predicted this new family.’’
    • ‘Rauwerdink later merged the two species into M. sagu, based on the fact that seeds from spineless palms can produce spiny seedlings.’
    • ‘Plants with no spines on the leaves and bracts were considered as spineless or nonspiny, according to safflower descriptors.’
    • ‘The fruits are spineless but with several or many foliaceous scales.’
    • ‘These are set off to perfection by the foliage, which is dark green, glossy and almost spineless.’
    • ‘Coendou and Sphiggurus are arboreal animals, with long, spineless, prehensile tails and wide foot pads.’
    • ‘Coral are tiny spineless animals essential in building reefs, one of the planet's oldest and most complex ecosystems.’
    • ‘In addition, it is an attractive and spineless cactus, which increases its potential as an ornamental plant; therefore, collection may become a problem in the future.’
    • ‘Monogenic control was also found for spiny versus spineless, with the spiny trait being completely or partially dominant.’