lacking courage or determination, weak-minded or cowardly.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



cowardly, timid, fearful, weak-willed, irresolute, feeble, indecisive, unassertive, wishy-washy, hesitant, meek, faint-hearted, chicken-hearted, pusillanimous, lily-livered.


courageous, bold, determined, strong-willed, resolute, decisive, assertive, confident, audacious, brave, stalwart, steadfast, valiant.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun spinelessnesses, spinelessness
Verb None
Adjective spineless
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • Despite being the leader of the company, he showed a spineless attitude towards making important decisions.

  • The spineless response of the government to the crisis disappointed everyone.

  • She realized that her spineless attitude would not help her achieve her career goals.

  • The coach criticized the players for their spineless performance in the previous game.


The word ‘spineless’ is derived from the noun ‘spine’, which refers to the backbone or central support structure of an animal. The suffix -less is added to spine to form the adjective ‘spineless’. As an adjective, ‘spineless’ is used to describe a person who lacks moral or physical backbone, or someone who is weak in character.

The word ‘spineless’ can be used in various contexts such as politics, sports, personal relationships or professional settings. In politics, spineless can be used to describe a politician who changes their stance on important issues to please the crowd or the party leaders, instead of sticking to their principles. In sports, spineless can describe a player or a team that lacks the courage, determination, and spirit to fight till the end and give their best performance.

In personal relationships or professional settings, spineless is a negative trait. People who lack spine are usually indecisive and easily influenced by others. They tend to avoid confrontations and cannot stand up for themselves, leading to missed opportunities and compromised outcomes. Spineless individuals have little or no self-respect, tend to be overly conformist, and often lack the confidence or assertiveness necessary to succeed.

In some cases, the prefix un- can be added to ‘spineless’, giving the word ‘unspineless’. Although unspineless is not a widely used word, it can be used to describe someone who has overcome their spinelessness and has become more confident, assertive, and resilient.

In conclusion, the word ‘spineless’ is a negative adjective used to describe individuals or situations that lack backbone, courage or determination. It is important to develop a strong sense of self-worth and confidence in oneself, to avoid being labeled as spineless.