Etymology
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vertebra (n.)
"bone of the spine," early 15c., from Latin vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (plural vertebræ), perhaps from vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend") + instrumental suffix -bra. The notion would be the spine as the "hinge" of the body.
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vertebrate (n.)
"a vertebrate animal," 1826, from Latin vertebratus (Pliny), from vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (see vertebra). As an adjective also from 1826.
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invertebrate (adj.)
"having naturally no backbone," 1819, from Latin in- "not" (see in- (1)) + vertebratus (Pliny), from vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (see vertebra). As a noun, "an invertebrate animal," 1826.
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*wer- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root forming words meaning "to turn, bend."

It forms all or part of: adverse; anniversary; avert; awry; controversy; converge; converse (adj.) "exact opposite;" convert; diverge; divert; evert; extroversion; extrovert; gaiter; introrse; introvert; invert; inward; malversation; obverse; peevish; pervert; prose; raphe; reverberate; revert; rhabdomancy; rhapsody; rhombus; ribald; sinistrorse; stalwart; subvert; tergiversate; transverse; universe; verbena; verge (v.1) "tend, incline;" vermeil; vermicelli; vermicular; vermiform; vermin; versatile; verse (n.) "poetry;" version; verst; versus; vertebra; vertex; vertigo; vervain; vortex; -ward; warp; weird; worm; worry; worth (adj.) "significant, valuable, of value;" worth (v.) "to come to be;" wrangle; wrap; wrath; wreath; wrench; wrest; wrestle; wriggle; wring; wrinkle; wrist; writhe; wrong; wroth; wry.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vartate "turns round, rolls;" Avestan varet- "to turn;" Hittite hurki- "wheel;" Greek rhatane "stirrer, ladle;" Latin vertere (frequentative versare) "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed," versus "turned toward or against;" Old Church Slavonic vrŭteti "to turn, roll," Russian vreteno "spindle, distaff;" Lithuanian verčiu, versti "to turn;" German werden, Old English weorðan "to become;" Old English -weard "toward," originally "turned toward," weorthan "to befall," wyrd "fate, destiny," literally "what befalls one;" Welsh gwerthyd "spindle, distaff;" Old Irish frith "against."

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spondyle (n.)
"a vertebra," from French spondyle (14c.), from Latin spondylus, from Greek spondylos "vertebra" (see spondylo-).
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spondylosis (n.)
1885, from Greek spondylos "vertebra" (see spondylo-) + -osis.
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spondylo- 
before vowels spondyl-, combining form meaning "vertebrae," from Greek spondylos "a vertebra," in plural "the backbone," variant of sphondylos, of uncertain origin.
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spondulicks (n.)
1856, American English slang, "money, cash," of unknown origin, said to be from Greek spondylikos, from spondylos, a seashell used as currency (the Greek word means literally "vertebra"). "[U]sed by Mark Twain and by O. Henry and since then adopted into British English" [Barnhart], where it survived after having faded in the U.S.
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warble (v.)
late 14c., from Old North French werbler "to sing with trills and quavers" (Old French guerbloiier), from Frankish *werbilon (cognate with Old High German wirbil "whirlwind," German Wirbel "whirl, whirlpool, tuning peg, vertebra," Middle Dutch wervelen "to turn, whirl"); see whirl (v.). Related: Warbled; warbling. The noun is recorded from late 14c.
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