backbone

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English bakbon, bakebon, bac-bon, equivalent to back +‎ bone. Compare the semantically analogous Old English hryċġbān (backbone; spine, literally ridge-bone).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

backbone (countable and uncountable, plural backbones)

  1. The series of vertebrae, separated by disks, that encloses and protects the spinal cord, and runs down the middle of the back in vertebrate animals.
  2. Any fundamental support, structure, or infrastructure.
    Before automobiles, railroads were a backbone of commerce.
  3. Courage, fortitude, or strength.
    He would make a good manager, if he had a little more backbone.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.