• WordNet 3.6
    • n backbone the part of a network that connects other networks together "the backbone is the part of a communication network that carries the heaviest traffic"
    • n backbone the part of a book's cover that encloses the inner side of the book's pages and that faces outward when the book is shelved "the title and author were printed on the spine of the book"
    • n backbone fortitude and determination "he didn't have the guts to try it"
    • n backbone the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord "the fall broke his back"
    • n backbone a central cohesive source of support and stability "faith is his anchor","the keystone of campaign reform was the ban on soft money","he is the linchpin of this firm"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The giant squid is the largest animal without a backbone
    • Backbone Anything like , or serving the purpose of, a backbone. "The lofty mountains on the north side compose the granitic axis, or backbone of the country.""We have now come to the backbone of our subject."
    • Backbone Firmness; moral principle; steadfastness. "Shelley's thought never had any backbone ."
    • Backbone The column of bones in the back which sustains and gives firmness to the frame; the spine; the vertebral or spinal column.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n backbone The bone of the middle line of the back; the spine; the vertebral column; the vertebræ collectively.
    • n backbone Something resembling a backbone in appearance, position, or office: as, the Apennines are the backbone of Italy.
    • n backbone Figuratively, firmness; stability of purpose; decision of character; resolution; moral principle.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Backbone the bone of the back, the vertebral column: the main support of anything: mainstay: firmness, reliableness
    • ***


  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Backbone beats wishbone every time.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Some people develop a wishbone where their backbone should be.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
2d back, n. + bone,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. bæc, Sw. bak, Dan. bag.


In literature:

As white and brown roux are the very backbone of vegetarian cookery a few words of explanation may not be out of place.
"Cassell's Vegetarian Cookery" by A. G. Payne
It is the moral backbone of Japan.
"The Foundations of Japan" by J.W. Robertson Scott
The space between the cushions corresponds to the backbone of the horse.
"The Art of Travel" by Francis Galton
He could hardly stand; each time he bent over it seemed as though his backbone was disjointing.
"Vandover and the Brute" by Frank Norris
They will furnish a backbone of precision to the room.
"The House in Good Taste" by Elsie de Wolfe
There was a queer rattling sound that sent shivers up and down Reddy's backbone.
"The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum" by Thornton W. Burgess
I thought you were the backbone of Biffen's.
"Acton's Feud" by Frederick Swainson
Their blind faith was the backbone of the strike.
"Making Both Ends Meet" by Sue Ainslie Clark and Edith Wyatt
Yet they are the very backbone of the Army.
"A Student in Arms" by Donald Hankey
The vertebrae of its backbone are not biconcave, but flat in front and behind.
"The Whence and the Whither of Man" by John Mason Tyler
Behind the great general is the nation's backbone, and that backbone is a financier.
"The Colossus" by Opie Read
He had been sent to sea in hope of intercepting our great "Smyrna convoy," which was then the backbone of our oversea trade.
"Some Principles of Maritime Strategy" by Julian Stafford Corbett
Dat ain't no haid, nigger; dat's jes er button on top er yo body ter keep yer backbone from unravelin'.
"More Toasts"
Place it on the platter with the backbone at the right.
"Carving and Serving" by Mrs. D. A. Lincoln
These were really the backbone of the nation, the class which might have saved the state if salvation had been possible.
"Renaissance in Italy, Volume 1 (of 7)" by John Addington Symonds
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves extending from the base of my brain, down through the whole length of my spine, or backbone.
"Object Lessons on the Human Body" by Sarah F. Buckelew and Margaret W. Lewis
They are the backbone of good singing.
"Vocal Mastery" by Harriette Brower
The Mary part of me is so sick at the thought she hasn't any backbone, and Martha is showing signs already.
"Mary Cary" by Kate Langley Bosher
That gal has got a backbone.
"In the Days of Poor Richard" by Irving Bacheller
These were the backbone of the British flotilla.
"The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence" by A. T. Mahan

In poetry:

Wonder struck to ice his people's eyes:
Him they saw, the prone upon the bier,
Sheer from backbone rise,
Sword uplifting peer.
"King Harald's Trance" by George Meredith
I will do this and that, and break
The backbone of their large conceit,
And loose the sandals from their feet,
And show 'tis holy ground they shake.
"In After Days" by George Frederick Cameron

In news:

Though merely 2.5 ounces, the Orvis Helios 2 has the finesse needed to fling flies accurately, the power to push casts across broad rivers, and the backbone to handle nearly any size catch.
Sprint's network will become the communications backbone to enable secure, high-speed connectivity to CSC's Trusted Cloud and to bring CSC's cloud service catalog to Sprint customers.
Crab, shrimp and oysters provide the backbone for this seafood gumbo .
When the lynch mob is about to storm the jail, one learns the value of a wise sheriff with a backbone.
If Pelfrey pans out, people will point to him as an example of why a pitching prospect needs the backbone of a plus-fastball to succeed.
Pan's Labyrinth vs The Devil's Backbone.
Not so much his mainstream fare ( Hellboy, Mimic, Blade II, et al), but his more personal works such as Pan's Labyrinth and Devil's Backbone, for which he even designed the more fantastical characters.
If they did, people would remember what has happened to past societies that failed to put work ethics, morals and charity as the backbone of their societies.
The police force in Egypt was the backbone of 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak 's government.
Our natural resources , forests, rivers, mountains and plains form the backbone of America.
Women now backbone of American economy.
Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy.
The Celebration Ale is a quintessential West Coast IPA with flavors of pine and citrus, with a nice malt backbone that's easy to drink.
Centerville first city to get UTOPIA fiber optic backbone.
Although Baja has made a name for itself with its interlocking plywood stringer grid, the 20 Outlaw 's backbone is an integrated fiberglass floor and stringer matrix.

In science:

We now introduce some basic assumptions about grammars. A grammar induces a context-free backbone and has separate layers to represent morphological, syntactic, and semantic properties of categories.
Interfacing Constraint-Based Grammars and Generation Algorithms
The probability ¯Pq (k , n) of being on the backbone graph at a generation k from a root point after n random steps will also be of use.
Random walks on hyperbolic groups and their Riemann surfaces
The outcome of this construction is that Z –walks on B3 can be decomposed into a product of elementary full turns around cells (this is due to the tree structure of the backbone).
Random walks on hyperbolic groups and their Riemann surfaces
Let us call the backbone subgroup B(G) of the group G such subgroup of G whose Cayley graph is the backbone of the graph of G.
Random walks on hyperbolic groups and their Riemann surfaces
Define κ—the distance on the backbone graph of P SL(2, ZZ).
Random walks on hyperbolic groups and their Riemann surfaces
When α > 1, the remnant still contains O(N ) isolated points, but the rest is a subgraph of size O(N ), which is dominated by a single connected component usually called the backbone.
Core percolation in random graphs: a critical phenomena analysis
The a priori surprising, but rather general, fact that backbone percolation and standard percolation occur at the same point, namely at α = 1, has a very simple explanation for random graphs.
Core percolation in random graphs: a critical phenomena analysis
Note again that core percolation appears at α = e, contrary to backbone percolation, which occurs at α = 1.
Core percolation in random graphs: a critical phenomena analysis
The other exponents should be measurable, too, like the fractal dimension of the backbone of the spanning cluster, the fractal dimension of the chemical distance, the hull exponent etc.
Susceptibility and Percolation in 2D Random Field Ising Magnets
Links, nodes, and blobs form together the backbone of the spanning cluster, and the rest of the mass of the cluster is in the dead-ends.
Susceptibility and Percolation in 2D Random Field Ising Magnets
New pages and links are added to the World Wide Web every day, while networks like the power grid, the Internet backbone, and social networks change on slower time-scales.
Are randomly grown graphs really random?
The union of all possible paths in a given realization of conducting and non-conducting bonds is called the backbone of the correlation function.
Multifractal current distribution in random diode networks
Note that the backbone is invariant under reversal of all diodes.
Multifractal current distribution in random diode networks
FIG. 2: Example of the current distribution on a backbone running from x to x′ .
Multifractal current distribution in random diode networks
If we apply an external voltage at the two points x = (xk , x⊥ ) and x′ = (x′ k , x⊥ ) there will be a current running on the backbone which can be computed by solving Kirchhoff ’s laws.
Multifractal current distribution in random diode networks