Definition of backbone:

part of speech: noun

The bone of the back, the vertebral column; also, firmness, stability of purpose, energy. ( Amer.).

part of speech: noun

The spine; firmness; courage.

Usage examples for backbone:

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To treat roughly or severely; to ill- use; to encroach or trespass upon; as, to violate an other's rights or property; to profane or treat irreverently; as, to violate a tomb or grave; to transgress, as the law; to disregard, as a treaty; to break, as a promise; to outrage or dishonor. ...