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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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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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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cube (n.)

1550s, "regular geometric body with six square faces," also "product obtained by multiplying the square of a quantity by the quantity itself," from French cube (13c.) and directly from Latin cubus, from Greek kybos "a six-sided die," used metaphorically of dice-like blocks of any sort, also "cake; piece of salted fish; vertebra," of uncertain origin. Beekes points out that "words for dice are often loans" and that "the Lydians claimed to have invented the game" of kybos.

The mathematical also was in the ancient Greek word: the Greeks threw with three dice; the highest possible roll was three sixes. The word was attested in English from late 14c. in Latin form. The 1960s slang sense of "extremely conventional person" (1959) is from the notion of a square squared. Cube-root is from 1550s (in Middle English this was simply a cubick).

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