Definition of vertebrate in English:


Syllabification: ver·te·brate
Pronunciation: /ˈvərtəbrət, -ˌbrāt


  • An animal of a large group distinguished by the possession of a backbone or spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. Compare with invertebrate.
    • Subphylum Vertebrata, phylum Chordata: seven classes
    More example sentences
    • For that reason the earliest terrestrial vertebrates did not come equipped with an occiput, as we understand the term.
    • No one had unambiguously located such genes in animals more primitive than the jawed vertebrates.
    • Their presence suggests the feature appeared in a common ancestor of jawed vertebrates, or gnathostomes.


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  • Of or relating to the vertebrates.
    More example sentences
    • Indeed, during this time most of the various invertebrate and vertebrate phyla evolved.
    • In addition to abundant crinoids, a diverse invertebrate and vertebrate fauna is contained within the Muldraugh.
    • In tropical rainforests, the majority of woody plant species disperse seeds via vertebrate frugivores.


early 19th century: from Latin vertebratus 'jointed', from vertebra (see vertebra).

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