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Backbone   /bˈækbˌoʊn/   Listen
Backbone

noun
1.
A central cohesive source of support and stability.  Synonyms: anchor, keystone, linchpin, lynchpin, mainstay.  "The keystone of campaign reform was the ban on soft money" , "He is the linchpin of this firm"
2.
Fortitude and determination.  Synonyms: grit, gumption, guts, moxie, sand.
3.
The series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord.  Synonyms: back, rachis, spinal column, spine, vertebral column.
4.
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.  Synonym: spine.
5.
The part of a network that connects other networks together.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Backbone" Quotes from Famous Books



... from one hundred to fifty, and the horses began to fail so rapidly that they had to abandon the carts, while the men were becoming completely exhausted from the endless cutting and hacking of the scrub. At length they surmounted the range, the backbone of the peninsula, and on the western slope, amid the heads of the rivers flowing into the Gulf of Carpentaria, made better progress. Kennedy, however, adhered to his instructions to examine the eastern slope, and recrossed the watershed, ...
— The Explorers of Australia and their Life-work • Ernest Favenc

... a sound that I did not make myself. Whatever had become of the hounds, and the other hunters? The higher I climbed the more I liked it. After an hour I was sure that I could reach the rim by this route, and of course that stimulated me. To make sure, and allay doubt, I sat down on a high backbone of bare rock and studied the heave and bulge of ridge above me. Using my glasses I made sure that I could climb out. It would be a task equal to those of lion-hunting days with Jones, and it made me happy to ...
— Tales of lonely trails • Zane Grey

... of war with England; such was the noble opposition of the States of New York and New England to that unholy coalition between the American President and the oppressor of Europe against human liberty—States which had been the head and the sinews and the backbone of American resistance to Great Britain during the struggle for American independence, and which, having achieved that independence, abhorred being buccaneers against the independence of Canada, and the acquisition of the Indian ...
— The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 2 of 2 - From 1620-1816 • Edgerton Ryerson

... company) Beltelcom which is a monopoly domestic: local - Minsk has a digital metropolitan network and a cellular NMT-450 network; waiting lists for telephones are long; local service outside Minsk is neglected and poor; intercity - Belarus has a partly developed fiber-optic backbone system presently serving at least 13 major cities (1998); Belarus' fiber optics form synchronous digital hierarchy rings through other countries' systems; an inadequate analog system remains operational international: country code ...
— The 2004 CIA World Factbook • United States. Central Intelligence Agency

... afraid. I like shooting and hunting; but these Frenchmen have no backbone for sport. Will you believe it, one has the greatest difficulty in getting a good knock at polo unless there is a crowd ...
— A Son of the Immortals • Louis Tracy

... Birkenhead. Anither artist was ill, and they just wired wad I come? I was free at the time, and glad o' the siller to be made, for the offer was a gude one, so I just went. That was firther south than I'd been yet; the audiences were English to the backbone wi' no Scots ...
— Between You and Me • Sir Harry Lauder

... also by the desire to plant a new England beyond the seas. They made, in fact, no profits; but they did create a branch of the English stock, and the young squires' and yeomen's sons who formed the backbone of the colony showed themselves to be Englishmen by their unwillingness to submit to an uncontrolled direction of their affairs. In 1619, acting on instructions received from England, the company's governor summoned an assembly of representatives, one from each township, to consult on the needs ...
— The Expansion of Europe - The Culmination of Modern History • Ramsay Muir

... over the old trail of the Sheep-eater Indians—the one which wound along the backbone of the ridge. Rough going, that. They were camped up there, and they must have a big pack outfit, he reasoned, to get so far from supplies at ...
— The Man from the Bitter Roots • Caroline Lockhart

... give our attention to the sermon. It is what the congregation will pronounce "a large, nervous, and golden discourse," a Scriptural discourse,—like the skeleton of the sea-serpent, all backbone and a great deal of that. It may be some very special and famous effort. Perhaps Increase Mather is preaching on "The Morning Star," or on "Snow," or on "The Voice of God in Stormy Winds"; or it may be his sermon entitled "Burnings Bewailed," to improve the lesson of some great conflagration, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XII. September, 1863, No. LXXI. - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... nothing but Martha. I know it. Nothing but Martha until she comes back. The Mary part of me is so sick at the thought she hasn't any backbone, and Martha is ...
— Mary Cary - "Frequently Martha" • Kate Langley Bosher

... it was some time before they actually did become real friends: Mary, seeing that anything she could say against America aroused a fierce contradiction from Polly, slyly teased her whenever she could, and Polly, who was loyal to the backbone, grew more and more indignant, often on the verge of tears, rushing to her aunt or uncle with a tale of Mary's abuse of her ...
— Three Little Cousins • Amy E. Blanchard

... 'member when Iris gin ye that rap. She sticks to ye like a burr, pardner, and won't let ye play sweet on the ladies, as you'd like. Kinder mean fur a wife to keep sich a sharp eye out fur her lord, but I tell ye, Iris is grit to ther backbone, and she's jealous, too. But I won't tantalize yer, coz 'taint jest; but 'sposin' you gin me a little rhino? I'm busted—dead broke; out o' rocks, and ...
— Five Thousand Dollars Reward • Frank Pinkerton

... the proclamation of the Empire, Germany meant Prussia to the rest of the world—Prussia officially evangelical, privately sceptical, the rigid backbone of the whole German military mammoth. The fact that about one-third of the population of the Empire is Catholic was overlooked by Prussia ...
— Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 2 - Studies from the Chronicles of Rome • Francis Marion Crawford

... out upon our ordinary life, what shall we need to put backbone into life? What do we need to give a little more strength to it, to enable us to be braver and firmer and stronger? It is just that power of being able to take our own line against others; it is just that courage of our ...
— The After-glow of a Great Reign - Four Addresses Delivered in St. Paul's Cathedral • A. F. Winnington Ingram

... Protestant German lands the Shorter Catechism prepared by Luther, or the later Heidelberg Catechism; in Calvinistic lands the Catechism of Calvin; and in England and the American Colonies the Westminster Catechism, [10] formed the backbone of the religious instruction. Teachers drilled their pupils in these as thoroughly as on any other subject, writing masters set as copies sentences from the book, children were required to memorize the answers, ...
— THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION • ELLWOOD P. CUBBERLEY

... scarcely greater than those of the other Napoleonides, Joseph and Jerome. Nevertheless the reverses of his early life had strengthened that fund of quiet stoicism, that energy to resist if not to dare, which formed the backbone of an otherwise somewhat weak, shadowy, and uninspiring character. And now, in the rapid fall of his fortunes, the greatest adventurer of the nineteenth century showed to the full those qualities of toughness and dignified reserve which for ...
— The Development of the European Nations, 1870-1914 (5th ed.) • John Holland Rose

... they greeted the efforts of their assailants to cross the palisade and break their line. At last the Norman infantry fell back broken and baffled, having suffered terrible loss, and now the knights and horsemen, who formed the backbone of William's army, rode up the hill. The duke himself, as well as his brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeau, who fought beside him, had laid aside their Norman swords, and were armed with heavy maces, weapons as formidable as the English axe. But ...
— Wulf the Saxon - A Story of the Norman Conquest • G. A. Henty

... jaw, and the shuffling gait, tell the story of chronic, wasting disease more graphically than words. We have a ludicrously inverted idea of cause and effect in our minds about "a good carriage." We imagine that a ramrod-like stiffening of the backbone, with the head erect, shoulders thrown back and chest protruded, is a cause of health, instead of simply being an effect, or one of the incidental symptoms thereof. And we often proceed to drill our unfortunate patients into this really cramped and irrational attitude, under ...
— Preventable Diseases • Woods Hutchinson

... to worse, and after he had alluded to my backbone as my Personal Column, any possibility of reconciliation seemed at an end. I did not know then what a terribly determined person ...
— Marge Askinforit • Barry Pain

... in the open air, during those bleak and windy winters, and roaming over those parched fields in summer, has come to have some marked features. For one thing, her pedal extremities seemed lengthened; for another, her udder does not impede her travelling; for a third, her backbone inclines strongly to the curve; then, she despiseth hay. This last is a sure test. Offer a thorough-bred Virginia cow hay, and she will laugh in your face; but rattle the husks or shucks, and she knows you ...
— The Galaxy - Vol. 23, No. 1 • Various

... Dec. 21, 1864] After Sherman left Tennessee in May, to the taking of Atlanta September 2, there was hardly a day without its battle; after he left Atlanta he marched to the sea and took Savannah; then he went to Columbia and the backbone of the Rebellion was broken. The poet wrote this while a prisoner at Columbia; and when Sherman arrived there and read it, he attached Adjt. Byers to ...
— Poems of American Patriotism • Brander Matthews (Editor)

... but moved with such extraordinary speed that within four days after its declaration of war its standing army was crossing the channel, and within a fortnight it had landed upon French soil the two army corps which constituted the backbone of her military power. ...
— Defenders of Democracy • Militia of Mercy

... the dancer," someone cried, "to remove that mole two inches from her backbone right ...
— Atlantis • Gerhart Hauptmann

... more than either," growled Ben, and after a while forced himself to add, "He's no backbone,—the little fellow with ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 91, May, 1865 • Various

... to-day, and says she and Kitty are going to a dance at Buckton's country house to-night. You may call that right and proper, sir, but I don't. The way married couples live to-day is an outrage on common decency. If you had any backbone you'd make your wife behave herself. She is more of a belle, sir, right now than before you married her. She is crazy for excitement, and the whole poker-playing, wine-drinking set she goes with is on the ...
— The Desired Woman • Will N. Harben

... rank, first to the sitting-room or library, then up-stairs, and so, by easy stages, to the hospital asylum of the garret. And up through the very midst of it all, midway between the two small windows which lighted the opposite ends of the attic, rose the huge gray stone chimney, like a massive backbone to the body of the house. What stories of the past the old chimney could have told! What descriptions of Hapgoods, long dead, who had warmed themselves about it! What secret papers had been burned in its wide throat! What sweet and tender ...
— Half a Dozen Girls • Anna Chapin Ray

... to grow upon your once blank canvas, and some lucky pat matches the exact tone of blue-gray haze or shimmer of leaf, or some accidental blending of color delights you with its truth, a tingling goes down your backbone, and a rush surges through your veins that stirs you as nothing else in your whole life will ever do. The reaction comes the next day when, in the cold light of your studio, you see how far short you ...
— Outdoor Sketching - Four Talks Given before the Art Institute of Chicago; The Scammon Lectures, 1914 • Francis Hopkinson Smith

... halted at the pit edge. My outfit were whites—Russians, French, Germans. But the others were black, brown, yellow—all the motley aggregation of races that formed the Red cohorts, the backbone of the Great Uprising. As the "At ease" order snapped out a babel of tongues rose on the air. Every language of Earth was there save English. The Anglo-Saxons had chosen tortured death rather than submission to the ...
— Astounding Stories, May, 1931 • Various

... its head held forward, its long horns lying flat upon the back. The shot was very long, and the beast very large to bring down with so small a bullet. I aimed right forward—clear of it, indeed—high too, in a line with its backbone, ...
— Marie - An Episode in The Life of the late Allan Quatermain • H. Rider Haggard

... of his whimsy-whamsies, I suppose. He says the non-commissioned officers are the backbone of the Army, and he prefers to be part of the backbone. You ...
— Changing Winds - A Novel • St. John G. Ervine

... 'em who had pluck enough to tell Russia at the outset that if she laid hands on Turkey we should have considered it an ultimatum, there would never have been any war at all—the Emperor Nicholas confessed as much on his death-bed. It was all want of backbone that did it—not of the English nation, thank God! but of the government or ministry of the time. Some governments we've had, ay, and since then, too, Vernon, have been the curse of ...
— Crown and Anchor - Under the Pen'ant • John Conroy Hutcheson

... see Grandfather again that Summer, so early last Spring I went to visit my colony, and there was my friend, bossing things as usual. But his back was crooked and he had to walk with a lame twist, so I suppose that lion injured his backbone. ...
— Polly and Eleanor • Lillian Elizabeth Roy

... assiduously at work as usual, groping with our fingers among the rotting fish for the sudden sensation of hardness which proclaimed the presence of the gems, when one of the party, straightening himself up for a moment to take the kinks out of his backbone, let out a sudden yell ...
— Turned Adrift • Harry Collingwood

... Franz, help Dr. Swift and his son to some of the fish I caught to-day. They are the first of the season, Doctor, with my compliments." He made a courtly gesture with his hand. "Remember, Theo," he added, "always to open a fish up the back. In that way you can take the backbone out whole and save yourself a deal ...
— The Story of Porcelain • Sara Ware Bassett

... opens, and Europe is disclosed as a prone and emaciated figure, the Alps shaping like a backbone, and the branching mountain-chains like ribs, the peninsular plateau of Spain forming a head. Broad and lengthy lowlands stretch from the north of France across Russia like a grey-green garment hemmed by the Ural mountains ...
— The Dynasts - An Epic-Drama Of The War With Napoleon, In Three Parts, - Nineteen Acts, And One Hundred And Thirty Scenes • Thomas Hardy

... O Altitudo, evaporates in romantic gush over beautiful passages. This does not mean, of course, that no benefit may be obtained from such a study, but it does preclude English literature generally from being made the backbone, so to speak, of a sound curriculum. The same may be said of French and German. The difficulties of these tongues in themselves, and the effort required of us to enter into their spirit, imply some degree of intellectual ...
— The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 • Various

... No. 16 Platoon. Dawson-Smith, Copinger, Gascoyne, and Hill were other new arrivals in my company. The N.C.O.'s on whom I most relied were Sergeants Palmer, Leatherbarrow, and Sloper, but the real backbone of the Company were the gallant and determined section leaders whom I had chosen for promotion from the ranks. Of my runners and signallers I was especially proud, and at Company Headquarters there was, of course, the ...
— The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry • G. K. Rose

... all places, and the ceremony is never neglected. Then the cutting up and division of the body of the animal takes place. The head and breast go to the man who first wounded the deer, and, if the shot was fatal, he also receives the backbone—this always goes to the man who fired the fatal shot. One hind quarter goes to the owner of the dog which seared up the deer, and the rest is divided as evenly as possible among the other hunters. Every part is utilized. The Negritos waste nothing that could possibly serve ...
— Negritos of Zambales • William Allan Reed

... good bit of talk about her ladyship's father being one of them with the fullest pockets. She came here with plenty, but Sir Nigel got hold of it for his games, and they're the games that cost money. Her ladyship wasn't born with a backbone, poor thing, but this new one was, and her ladyship's father is her father, and you mark my words, there's money coming into Stornham, though it's not going to be played the fool with. Lord, yes! this new one has ...
— The Shuttle • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... Salariki were an impressive lot. Their average height was close to six feet, their distant feline ancestry apparent only in small vestiges. A Salarik's nails on both hands and feet were retractile, his skin was gray, his thick hair, close to the texture of plushy fur, extended down his backbone and along the outside of his well muscled arms and legs, and was tawny-yellow, blue-gray or white. To Terran eyes the broad faces, now all turned in their direction, lacked readable expression. The eyes ...
— Plague Ship • Andre Norton

... whole winter the Randalls were the mainstay of the community. They were one of those families who are the backbone of the old West, always ready to serve their neighbors. They were like old trees standing alone on the prairie, that have weathered the storms and grown strong, with ...
— Land of the Burnt Thigh • Edith Eudora Kohl

... Darwin of antiquity, for he is said to have begun his creation from below, and after passing from the invertebrate to the sub-vertebrate, from thence to the backbone, from the backbone to the mammalia, and from the mammalia to the manco- cerebral, he compounded man ...
— Samuel Butler's Canterbury Pieces • Samuel Butler

... his heart out. I met him, and I'll make him another Battistini. See here"—and he turned sharply to Claude—"I'll bring him out in your opera. That baritone part could easily be worked up a bit, brought forward more into the limelight. Why, it would strengthen the opera, give it more backbone. Mind you, I wouldn't spoil the score not for all the Alstons ever created. Art comes first with me, and they know it from Central Park to San Francisco. But the baritone part would bear strengthening. It's for the good of ...
— The Way of Ambition • Robert Hichens

... is, that the monkeys first found out the properties of the leaf, and it is because they live on it that they are so strong. Do you know that a gorilla's arm is not half so thick as yours, and yet he would take you and snap your backbone across his knee; he would bend a gun-barrel as you would bend a cane, merely by the turn of his wrist. That is Simiacine. He can hang on to a tree with one leg and tackle a leopard with his bare ...
— With Edged Tools • Henry Seton Merriman

... adequately describe the unearthly wail in that cry and it took a full half-minute for Johnny to become himself again and to understand what it was. Once more it arose, nearer, and Johnny peered into the shadows along a rough backbone of rock, his Colt balanced ...
— Bar-20 Days • Clarence E. Mulford

... course it's bitter—bitter as tansy. It sends the chills creeping up and down my backbone, and the top of my head feels as if it was crawling off. I believe I shall lose my scalp if I ...
— Lippincott's Magazine. Vol. XII, No. 33. December, 1873. • Various

... backbone of the middle class is next to impossible. They've been bowing and scraping until there's a permanent kink in ...
— Broken to the Plow • Charles Caldwell Dobie

... Bob. "Some farmer is going to sell out and Peabody wants a wagon. So I have to ride that horse fourteen miles and back —and he has a backbone like a razor blade!—to buy a wagon; that is, if ...
— Betty Gordon in Washington • Alice B. Emerson

... face. It was old and worn and gray, and her hair nearly white, like mine. I had never seen her like that before; she had always been eight-and-twenty. But age became her well—she looked so benignly beautiful and calm and grand that I was awed—and quick, chill waves went down my backbone. ...
— Peter Ibbetson • George du Marier et al

... big cheeses, that once, when my father's mare fell into the press, we only found her after travelling seven days, and she was so much injured that her back was broken. So to mend that I made her a backbone of a pine-tree, that answered splendidly; till one fine morning the tree took it into its head to grow, and it grew and grew until it was so high that I climbed up to Heaven on it. There I looked down, and saw a lady in a white gown spinning sea-foam to make gossamer with. I went to ...
— Our Young Folks, Vol 1, No. 1 - An Illustrated Magazine • Various

... chaps are traitors. Both our countries have their comic Old Aristocracy—you know, old county families, hunting people and all that sort of thing—and we both have our wretched labor leaders, but we both have a backbone of sound business men who ...
— Babbitt • Sinclair Lewis

... as well as eyes, and theodolites as well as glasses, should all be directed across the bay, across the level grounds beyond it, far away to the blue line of the Cordilleras, cutting the clear sky with their serrated outline. He does not observe that deep notch in the great backbone of the continent, as regular as the cleft which the pioneer makes in felling a forest-tree; nor does he observe that the breeze which ripples the waters at the foot of the volcano is the north wind sweeping all the way from the Bay of Honduras through that break in the mountain ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 30, April, 1860 • Various

... share of thrills. I have asked a strong and busy porter, at Paddington, when the Brighton train started. I have gone for the broad-jump record in trying to avoid a motor-car. I have played Spillikins and Ping-Pong. But never again have I felt the excitement that used to wander athwart my moral backbone when I was put on to translate a passage containing a notorious crux and seventeen doubtful readings, with only that innate genius, which is the wonder of the civilized world, to pull me through. And what a glow of pride one feels when it is all over; when ...
— Tales of St. Austin's • P. G. Wodehouse

... the towering deck on a crowd of two or three thousand people—whites, Kanakas, Chinamen—and hundreds of them at once made their way on board, and streamed over the ship, talking, laughing, and remarking upon us in a language which seemed without backbone. Such rich brown men and women they were, with wavy, shining black hair, large, brown, lustrous eyes, and rows of perfect teeth like ivory. Everyone was smiling. The forms of the women seem to be inclined towards obesity, but their drapery, which consists of a sleeved garment which ...
— The Hawaiian Archipelago • Isabella L. Bird

... well. Small fish should be fried whole, with the backbone severed to prevent curling up; large fish should be cut into pieces, and ribs cut loose from backbone so as to lie flat in pan. Rub the pieces in corn meal or powdered bread crumbs, thinly and evenly (that browns them). Fry in plenty of very hot fat to a golden brown, sprinkling ...
— Camping For Boys • H.W. Gibson

... just keeps pace with his losses—devises clothes, wigs, artificial teeth, paddings, shoes—what civilised being could use his bare feet for his ordinary locomotion? Imagine him on a furze-sprinkled golf links. Then stays, an efficient substitute for the effete feminine backbone. So the thing goes on. Long ago his superficies became artificial, and now the human being shrinks like a burning cigar, and the figure he has abandoned remains distended with artificial ashes, dead dry protections against the exposures ...
— Certain Personal Matters • H. G. Wells

... o'clock, we halted on a platform which stretched to the base of the Moench, whose ridge or backbone rose before our eyes. Here a small grotto had been excavated in the ice in which I was bidden to rest myself, thoroughly well wrapped up. We were literally on the brink of a complete collapse, respiration failed us, and for some minutes I expectorated ...
— Celebrated Women Travellers of the Nineteenth Century • W. H. Davenport Adams

... establishment than for the insignia of rank. It is this firm feeling of the fitness of things, and his unbounded allegiance to an authority when it is based on character which makes the NCO and the petty officer the backbone of discipline within the United States fighting establishment. Sergeant Evans of "Command Decision" was an archtype of the best ball carriers among them. In a sense, they remain independent workmen, rather than a tool of authority, until the hour comes when they ...
— The Armed Forces Officer - Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2 • U. S. Department of Defense

... the lower part of the base of the skull, as well as the back of the head. It is a broad, curved bone, and rests on the topmost vertebra (atlas) of the backbone; its lower part is pierced by a large oval opening called the foramen magnum, through which the spinal cord passes from the brain ...
— A Practical Physiology • Albert F. Blaisdell

... been dumped by mistake on an athletic field. And when he gets a team in the gymnasium between halves, with the game going wrong, and stands up before them and sizes up their insect nerve and rubber backbone and hereditary awkwardness and incredible talent in doing the wrong thing, to say nothing of describing each individual blunder in that queer nasal clack of his—well, I'd rather be tied up in a great big frying-pan over a good hot stove for the ...
— At Good Old Siwash • George Fitch

... stop, stretching out his hands and saying in tones of quivering emotion: "The ladies, God bless them!" Also he would say: "I am a friend of the common man. My heart beats with sympathy for those who constitute the real backbone of America, the toilers of the shop and farm." And then all the banqueters of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association would applaud, and would send their checks to the campaign fund of this friend ...
— 100%: The Story of a Patriot • Upton Sinclair

... "to the West in the shape of silk, tea, and the magnetic compass, the Chinese have so far in return received opium, missionaries, and bombardment." "The literati, the backbone of China ... are not kindly spoken of by missionaries, nor are ...
— Impressions of a War Correspondent • George Lynch

... seems to show a wide departure from negro characteristics. The skull, chin, forehead, bony system, facial angle, hair, limbs, are all different. The chief resemblances are in the flat nose, and form of the backbone.[186] Scientific ethnologists have therefore usually decided that the old Egyptians were an Asiatic people who had become partially amalgamated with the surrounding African tribes. Max Duncker comes to this conclusion,[187] and says ...
— Ten Great Religions - An Essay in Comparative Theology • James Freeman Clarke

... idea of the pamphlet, and practically its backbone, is One and the same Parliament in Perpetuity or Membership for Life. This may be a surprise, not only to those who, knowing that Milton was a Republican, conceive him therefore to have held necessarily the exact modern ...
— The Life of John Milton, Volume 5 (of 7), 1654-1660 • David Masson

... curious laugh, "stocked with some of the best cattle in the country. You'll have horses to ride, and dresses—See! You can have all you want. What is there here? Nothing. Say, you don't even get enough to eat. Scipio hasn't got more backbone in him than to gather five cents when it's raining dollars." He kissed her upturned face again, and the warm responsive movement of her lips told him how easy ...
— The Twins of Suffering Creek • Ridgwell Cullum

... the cheap supply of "gentlemen's lounge-suits" for the so-called working-classes to lounge in. I know of no surer antidote to the spirit of Bolshevism. But let us not forget the claims of the middle classes, who are the backbone of the Empire. If Mr. MALLABY-DEELEY cannot help us in the direction I have indicated, then let Mr. KENNEDY JONES, on behalf of the Middle Class Union, put a hyphen to his name and open a shop for the sale of evening wear at ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, March 10th, 1920 • Various

... the very earliest bloom, scarcely older than yourself, the famous Passage of Arms at Haflinghem was held in my honour, the challengers were four, the assailants so many as twelve. It lasted three days, and cost the lives of two adventurous knights, the fracture of one backbone, one collarbone, three legs, and two arms, besides flesh wounds and bruises beyond the heralds' counting, and thus have the ladies of our House ever been honoured. Ah! had you but half the heart of your noble ancestry, you would ...
— Quentin Durward • Sir Walter Scott

... such anger flashed from his eyes that the clerk shivered all down his backbone. He thought he would take his departure as quickly as might be, and drawing a little nearer, put down a coin upon ...
— We Two • Edna Lyall

... units, an average of five, or about one fourth of the entire college work,[89] must be taken consecutively in one department of study or in not more than two departments. This last group of approximately five units thus constitutes, so to speak, the backbone of the student's work. It is his so-called "principal sequence" (Chicago) or his "two majors" (Amherst) or his "major subject" (Wisconsin and Colorado); and while in the case of Amherst it cannot ...
— College Teaching - Studies in Methods of Teaching in the College • Paul Klapper

... When we reach the backbone of Peru we are not only above the clouds as in Bolivia, but we are surrounded by mystery. Here can be seen today the ruins of temples that were richer perhaps than any of those of the countries with which we are all so familiar. This article, however, will largely have to do with the Peruvian country ...
— Birdseye Views of Far Lands • James T. Nichols

... and Rilla discovered a certain aptitude in herself for it that surprised her. Who would be president? Not she. The older girls would not like that. Irene Howard? No, somehow Irene was not quite as popular as she deserved to be. Marjorie Drew? No, Marjorie hadn't enough backbone. She was too prone to agree with the last speaker. Betty Mead—calm, capable, tactful Betty—the very one! And Una Meredith for treasurer; and, if they were very insistent, they might make her, ...
— Rilla of Ingleside • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... the priest giving his lesson—and all the time the rain coming down in torrents and nobody paying any attention to it. There were no dry eyes, and when the General came and shook hands with us afterwards, he could not speak. He is a splendid man, very handsome and a patriot to the backbone,—one of the finest ...
— 'My Beloved Poilus' • Anonymous

... volcanic interlude, and Glacier is the chance upheaval of shales and limestones from a period antedating the granite Rockies by many millions of years; neither in any sense exhibits the nature and scenic quality of the backbone of ...
— The Book of the National Parks • Robert Sterling Yard

... arisen to give them a chance to show their grit and backbone. Maurice was of the opinion that they had come out of these conflicts with flying colors, and each victory seemed to renew their self confidence, as though that were the true reason for ...
— The House Boat Boys • St. George Rathborne

... a boy, carrying the splits for a servant of the family, called Sam Wham. Now Sam was an able young fellow, well-boned and willing; a hard-headed cudgel-player, and a marvellous tough wrestler, for he had a backbone like a sea-serpent; this gained him the name of the Twister and Twiner. He had got into the river, and with his back to me, was stooping over a broad stone, when something bolted from under the bank on which I stood, right through his legs. Sam fell with ...
— Tales from Blackwood, Volume 7 • Various

... hat without mounting up stairs to the looking-glass: while we are getting ready to go and do a thing, he has gone and done it. You hear Lady Latimer's name at every turn, but the old admiral is the backbone of Beechhurst, as he always was, and old Phipps is his ...
— The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax • Harriet Parr

... edgy. They might be common meteorites, psychologically enlarged flares, or true UFO's, but whatever they were they were playing around in one of the most sensitive security areas in the United States. Within 100 miles of Albuquerque were two installations that were the backbone of the atomic bomb program, Los Alamos and Sandia Base. Scattered throughout the countryside were other installations vital to the defense of the U.S.: radar stations, fighter-interceptor bases, and the other mysterious areas that had been blocked ...
— The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects • Edward Ruppelt

... admitting air to sections of the general gas-bag. Ultimately that made a highly explosive mixture; but in all these matters risks must be taken and guarded against. There was a steel axis to the whole affair, a central backbone which terminated in the engine and propeller, and the men and magazines were forward in a series of cabins under the expanded headlike forepart. The engine, which was of the extraordinarily powerful Pforzheim type, that supreme triumph of German invention, was worked by wires ...
— The War in the Air • Herbert George Wells

... connecting passage is built on it. But it also forms part of the chorus of sailors in the first act, part of the watchman's song in a varied form, part of another sailors' chorus (m); it is the very backbone of the spinning chorus; and lastly, a large portion of the spectral sailors' chorus is made up of it. I have no explanation to offer—unless it be that Wagner, bent on suggesting the sea throughout the opera, ...
— Richard Wagner - Composer of Operas • John F. Runciman

... be seen, was given to tuft-hunting to the backbone. His great ambition was to have a lion and unicorn, and to call himself haberdasher to a royal prince. He had never realized the fact that profit, like power, comes from the people, and not from the court. "I wouldn't ...
— The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson - By One of the Firm • Anthony Trollope

... fled so far over mountain and valley that they turned slowly into fowls in their flight. See here," and he threw down a dead bird and laid an arrow beside it. "Can't you see they are the same structure. The straight shaft is the backbone; the sharp point is the beak; the feather is the rudimentary plumage. It is merely modification and evolution." After a silence the king nodded gravely and said, "Yes; of course everything is evolution." At this the third archer suddenly and violently left the room, and was heard ...
— Alarms and Discursions • G. K. Chesterton

... its influence is mainly due the ascendency which Mr. Berry's party held for so long, and the violence of the measures which poor Mr. Berry took in hand. It was the Age which originated the idea of the Plebiscite, and of the progressive land-tax. It is protectionist to the backbone, having commenced the cry of 'Victoria for the Victorians,' and fosters a policy of isolation from the sister colonies. Prominent amongst its leader-writers is Mr. C. H. Pearson, whose Democracy is at once the most ultra and the most cultured, the most philosophical and the ...
— Town Life in Australia - 1883 • R. E. N. (Richard) Twopeny

... not going to be called upon to undergo the cruel hardships and physical strain of some campaigns, your son will be, and you can be of great help to him by being fit yourself. You and your sons will form the backbone of America's ...
— The Plattsburg Manual - A Handbook for Military Training • O.O. Ellis and E.B. Garey

... I am sometimes afraid I shall die of joy if we ever gain a complete and final victory. You can call this spunk if you choose. But my spunk has got a backbone of its own and that is deep-seated conviction, that this is a holy war, and that God himself sanctions it. He spares nothing precious when He has a work to do. No life is too valuable for Him to cut short, when any of His designs can be furthered by doing ...
— The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss • George L. Prentiss

... fierce snarl the otter took hold of the back of my ankle, its teeth penetrating the skin and tearing it over. I had sense to bend down and grasp the animal with my hands and rapidly snap its backbone, finishing my work by dashing a heavy stone upon its head. Forgetting my own hurt, I then turned to look after ...
— The Pilots of Pomona • Robert Leighton

... they place imagination and cogitation, and so the three ventricles of the fore part of the brain are used. The fourth creek behind the head is common to the cerebel or little brain, and marrow of the backbone, the last and most solid of all the rest, which receives the animal spirits from the other ventricles, and conveys them to the marrow in the back, and is the place where they say the ...
— The Anatomy of Melancholy • Democritus Junior

... it was true. He remembered that the repairs, which were the backbone of Paasch's trade, began to come in slowly on Monday. Paasch always began the week by making a pair of boots for the window, which he sold at half price when the leather had perished. In his eagerness for work, he had forgotten that Paasch's business was so small. He looked ...
— Jonah • Louis Stone

... the unexpressed question. "Oh yes," he said, with a little sardonic smile. "I know. The backbone of the nation—solemn, virtuous and slow. You're like them, but my folks were different, as you surmise. I don't think they had many estimable qualities from your point of view, but if they all didn't go quite straight ...
— Winston of the Prairie • Harold Bindloss

... Sir Terence: "I know him now better than you; he will stand, you'll find, the shock of that regiment of figures—he is steel to the backbone, and proof spirit." ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. 6 • Maria Edgeworth

... fleet fled back across the AEgean. But the brain and right arm of the Persians, Mardonius the Valiant, remained in Hellas. With him were still the Median infantry, the Tartar horse-archers, the matchless Persian lancers,—the backbone of the undefeated army. ...
— A Victor of Salamis • William Stearns Davis

... hill was revealed to its backbone and marrow here at its rent extremity. It consisted of a vast stratification of blackish-gray slate, unvaried in its whole height by a single ...
— A Pair of Blue Eyes • Thomas Hardy

... meat-making is the backbone of the system, which must be adopted, and a large breeding flock of sheep ...
— Talks on Manures • Joseph Harris

... all, documents, however well-tested and established, are not the backbone of the Christian religion. It may well be that to minds inured from infancy to the worship of the letter; to believers in "the Bible and the Bible only" as the ground of their religion; Arnold's solvent ...
— Matthew Arnold • G. W. E. Russell

... will be known from one end of California to the other. You've got your choice. You've either got to let up on Standing or kill all three of us. Standing's got your goat. So have I. So has Morrell. You are a stinking coward, and you haven't got the backbone and guts to carry out the dirty butcher's work you'd ...
— The Jacket (The Star-Rover) • Jack London

... the rustic saw, As, stretched upon some stubbly straw, He munched at bran and common grits, Not venturing on the dainty bits. At length the town mouse; "What," says he, "My good friend, can the pleasure be, Of grubbing here, on the backbone Of a great crag with trees o'ergrown? Who'd not to these wild woods prefer The city, with its crowds and stir? Then come with me to town; you'll ne'er Regret the hour that took you there. All earthly things draw mortal breath; Nor great nor little can from death Escape, and therefore, friend, be ...
— Horace • Theodore Martin

... procession, a triumphal procession, such as few of Caesar's generals had ever known. Arrived at the predestined table, he stood one side while menials drew out the chairs. Then he marched tremendously back to the main door, his chin high, his expression haughty, his backbone rigid. This head waiter was the feature of the Bella Union Hotel, just as the glass columns were the feature of the Empire, or the clockwork mechanism of the ...
— The Gray Dawn • Stewart Edward White

... they were "leased in perpetuity" so long as the ground-rent is paid, and remain for all municipal and such purposes under the uncontrolled administration of the nation which leased them. The land-tax may be regarded as the backbone of Chinese finance; but although nominally collected at a fixed rate, it is subject to fluctuations due to bad harvests and like visitations, in which cases the tax is accepted at a lower rate, in fact at any rate the people can afford ...
— The Civilization Of China • Herbert A. Giles

... Maryland on the hillside," said the guide the corporal had given; "there with the blue flag. Mighty fine feathers, but I reckon they're gamecocks all right! Elzey's Brigade's over beside the woods—Virginian to the backbone. Trimble's got a fine lot—Georgians and Alabamians and Mississippians. Here come some of the 2d Virginia ...
— The Long Roll • Mary Johnston

... resting its squat, outstretched head on the centre of the knee-cap. And so cunningly was the creature perched (as its owner gleefully pointed out) that the least movement of his crural muscles set the jagged backbone a-quivering, and the slobbering lips to mumble and mow. Cospatric said that dragon was a most finished piece of workmanship, and worth all he ...
— The Recipe for Diamonds • Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne

... will," said Dave, and, plunging his hand into the bucket, he took out a transparent gudgeon, whose soft backbone was faintly visible against the light; then carefully passing the hook through its tough upper lip, he dropped it over the side of the boat into ...
— Dick o' the Fens - A Tale of the Great East Swamp • George Manville Fenn

... its place is efficiently taken by an ordinary hand rose or spray of the kind shown at Fig. 15. The shower proper is usually fixed above the "needle" bath, as at Fig. 14, or formed by a continuation of the "backbone" of the needle. It is best to have separate regulating valves for the needle and shower, as at Fig. 16; but at Fig. 14 it is shown with a branch from the pipe conducting to the needle, and with stop cocks. The needle-bath is a skeleton-like structure having ...
— The Turkish Bath - Its Design and Construction • Robert Owen Allsop

... in his bedroom, a waif of melancholy. He drew a chair up, lighted a cigar, eyed the young man from head to foot, and then said: "Pride, have you got any backbone? If you have, brace up. You are ruined. That's about as mild ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... story, or an allegory—that chain and backbone of continuous interest, implying a progress and leading up to a climax, which holds together the great poems of the world, the Iliad and Odyssey, the AEneid, the Commedia, the Paradise Lost, the ...
— Spenser - (English Men of Letters Series) • R. W. Church

... school to-day) to culinary instruction. Mabel and Lily shared the lesson with their mother, but both young ladies wore an air of condescension, and grimaced at Miss Rodney behind her back. Mrs. Turpin was obstinately mute. The pride of ignorance stiffened her backbone and ...
— The House of Cobwebs and Other Stories • George Gissing

... of martial law, which really means no law at all, but only the will of the man in charge of the army. A subordinate official lifted to a position of almost irresponsible power—such was Pilate. We can well understand how a man with no moral backbone would succumb to its temptations. Pilate was a much smaller man than Gallic the proconsul at Corinth, and that other proconsul at Cyprus, Sergius Paulus, whom St Paul won over to Christian faith. But his pettiness in the eyes of Roman society would lead him to magnify his importance ...
— Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known Characters • George Milligan, J. G. Greenhough, Alfred Rowland, Walter F.

... Bible. Hence the traditional alliance between Protestantism and the Old Testament, in which the path of duty is far more clearly and consistently defined than in the New. And hence the singular fact that Calvinism, which is the backbone of Protestantism, and which in theory, and even (at times) in practice, regards "works" as "filthy rags," finds its other self in Puritanism, which is in the main a recrudescence of Jewish legalism in the more ...
— What Is and What Might Be - A Study of Education in General and Elementary Education in Particular • Edmond Holmes

... are deceptive as to direction, but Casey was lucky enough to walk straight toward the spot, which was over a hump in the gulch, a sort of backbone dividing it in two narrow branches there at its mouth. He had noticed when he rode toward it that it was ridged in the middle, and had chosen the left-hand branch for no reason at all except that it happened to be a little ...
— Casey Ryan • B. M. Bower

... years explorations in the Western Cretaceous formations, Mr. Brown has secured for the Museum three skeletons of this magnificent dinosaur, incomplete, but finely preserved. The first, found in 1900, included the jaws, a large part of backbone and ribs, and some limb bones. The second included most of skull and jaws, backbone, ribs and pelvis and the hind limbs and feet, but not tail. The third consisted of a perfect skull and jaws, the backbone, ...
— Dinosaurs - With Special Reference to the American Museum Collections • William Diller Matthew

... whip and help him. We tried for a little time, then I told him it was no use, they could never do it. He swore louder and called to the leaders to come on with their whips, and together they lashed. There was one ox, a black ox, so thin that the ridge of his backbone almost cut ...
— The Story of an African Farm • (AKA Ralph Iron) Olive Schreiner

... are "neither too light and dry, nor too close and wet." There can be no doubt that what gives to bones a peculiar value in the eyes of the farmer is the fact that they form a manure of a lasting character. They give what has been termed backbone to a soil. But the tendency of modern agricultural practice is to use quick-acting manures rather than slow. This has been admirably put by Professor Storer in the following words: "The old notion, that those manures are best which make themselves felt through a long ...
— Manures and the principles of manuring • Charles Morton Aikman

... place in their houses, if they were successful, than to work for its security. It was with great difficulty that Sir A. Milner as late as September 18 obtained his consent to the dispatch of a few regulars to Kimberley to form the backbone of a defensive force. He seems to have retained almost to the end, in spite of all indications to the contrary, the belief that the war would be averted or at least that the Orange Free State would not join in it. Yet in ...
— A Handbook of the Boer War • Gale and Polden, Limited

... and Honduras from the north, with the malcontents of Nicaragua, declared war against the foreign invader. Again Walker was in the field with opposed to him 21,000 of the allies. The strength of his own force varied. On his election as president the backbone of his army was a magnificently trained body of veterans to the number of 2,000. This was later increased to 3,500, but it is doubtful if at any one time it ever exceeded that number. His muster and hospital rolls show that during his entire occupation of Nicaragua ...
— Real Soldiers of Fortune • Richard Harding Davis

... in the morning the backbone of the hurricane broke. By five no more than a stiff breeze was blowing. And by six it was dead calm and the sun was shining. The sea had gone down. On the yet restless edge of the lagoon, Mapuhi saw the broken bodies of those that had failed in the landing. Undoubtedly Tefara and Nauri were ...
— South Sea Tales • Jack London

... car runs mostly along the backbone of the queer island on which this city stands. So the innumerable parallel streets that cross it curve down and away; and at this time street after street to the west reveals, and seems to drop into, a mysterious evening sky, full of dull reds and yellows, amber and pale green, ...
— Letters from America • Rupert Brooke

... good. The French are keen judges and they give front place to the Scots and the Australians. For myself I think the backbone of the Army is the old-fashioned English county regiments that hardly ever get into the papers Though I don't know, if I had to pick, but I'd take the South Africans. There's only a brigade of them, but they're hell's delight ...
— Mr. Standfast • John Buchan



Words linked to "Backbone" :   notochord, support, intervertebral disk, meshwork, intervertebral disc, connexion, axial skeleton, colloquialism, connector, mesh, part, coccyx, connective, vertebra, tail bone, network, connecter, volume, canalis vertebralis, fortitude, meshing, vertebral canal, connection, skeletal structure, net, book, chine, spinal canal, portion



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