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    #1

    back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    I would like ask about the nouns "back", "backbone", "rachis", "spinal column", "spine", "vertebral column".

    Instead of the sentence "the fall broke his spine", could we say "the fall broke his back"?


    What would be the difference from respect of casual use and being idiomatic?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    Yes. In everyday speech, to break one's back​ is a synonym for any vertebral fracture.

    I had to google "rachis" to discover its meaning. Apparently it's a term from zoology meaning the stem of a plant. It doesn't belong in your list.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column


    Instead of the sentence "the fall broke his spine", could we say "the fall broke his back"?
    Yes. I would go further and say that probably 'broke his back' is more common than 'broke his spine'. I had to look up the word rachis and I think most people would not know that word either, although Wikipedia does say rachis is a synonym for the spinal column in vertebrates.

    In my opinion, backbone is more commonly used as a synonym of courage, as in: 'He didn't have the backbone to stand up to his boss. It's also not a good choice here, as most people know the spinal column is made up of several bones, so a singular usage would be incorrect. One could, however, say, '...broke a bone in his back...'

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    #4

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    Are these indentical in meaning : 1. "The fall broke his backbone." 2. "His falling broke his backbone."?

    Thank you.

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    #5

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    Posts #2 and #3 (and this one) are suggesting that you should use back, not backbone.

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    #6

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    No. #2 is unusual and would only work in limited contexts.

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    #7

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    I'm reminded of the old joke: 'It's not the fall that hurts you. It's the landing...'

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    #8

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Yes. In everyday speech, to break one's back​ is a synonym for any vertebral fracture.

    I had to google "rachis" to discover its meaning. Apparently it's a term from zoology meaning the stem of a plant. It doesn't belong in your list.
    Cannot we say "to break one's backbone" as a synonym?

    Thank you.

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    #9

    Re: back v. backbone v. rachis v. spinal column v. spine v. vertebral column

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    Cannot we say "to break one's backbone" as a synonym?
    See posts 2, 3, 5, and 6.
    I am not a teacher.

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