Definition of vertebra in English:



  • Each of the series of small bones forming the backbone, having several projections for articulation and muscle attachment, and a hole through which the spinal cord passes.

    ‘the needle is inserted between two of the vertebrae’
    ‘she crushed a vertebra in a fall at Chepstow’
    • ‘Running through a small channel toward the rear of the vertebrae is the spinal cord.’
    • ‘The transverse process of the seventh vertebra may be bifid, and occasionally the costal process is replaced by a cervical rib.’
    • ‘The ventral keel is partially broken, but is observed to vanish near the middle of the ventral surface of the vertebra.’
    • ‘Males possess a larger spine on the first vertebra behind the pelvic girdle.’
    • ‘If the lumbar vertebra is completely anterior to the sacral base, spondylolisthesis has occurred.’
    • ‘A fracture of the transverse process of a lumbar vertebra may damage the ureter.’
    • ‘In Brachycephalus, there is a dermal bony shield that ossifies dorsal to the vertebrae.’
    • ‘The dura mater of the spinal cord is separated from the periosteum of the vertebrae by an epidural space.’
    • ‘The entire neural spine and arch of the first two vertebrae of this series are exposed.’
    • ‘The trapezius attaches to the base of the skull, midback vertebrae and collarbone.’
    • ‘The other pairs form joints with those of adjoining vertebrae and provide attachment for muscles and ligaments.’
    • ‘He fell 20 feet off a ladder breaking three vertebrae and exposing his spinal cord.’
    • ‘The neural spines in posterior dorsal vertebrae lack distinct lateral projections.’
    • ‘This is between bone and bone, as between the spinal vertebrae, or above and below a joint.’
    • ‘The somites give rise to the vertebrae, to the muscles of the trunk and limbs, and to the dermis of the skin.’
    • ‘Ribs curled free of the chest like those of a skeleton, and the vertebrae protruded in a line of jagged dorsal fins.’
    • ‘Another of the positions is keeping the back straight and erect, with the vertebrae of the spinal column in a straight line.’
    • ‘No ossification centers were evident for either the cervical or the last lumbar vertebrae.’
    • ‘The sternum may incorporate additional vertebrae and is referred to as a synsacrum.’
    • ‘The spine is made up of 24 bones called vertebrae, plus the sacrum and coccyx.’
    backbone, spinal column, vertebral column, vertebrae
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: from Latin, from vertere ‘to turn’.