Get a Backbone Definition


Get a Backbone Definition

Meaning of Get a backbone:

What did the fish say to the jelly fish? Get a backbone. Get it?

The backbone, or spine, is an essential part of the skeletal system most living species. For human beings, we need it to keep us upright and protects and provides a home for are all important spinal cord. Without this backbone, we would not be able to stand, walk and really be useless.

As mentions, the backbone is just another word for spine. The form of this idiom uses either “show”, “get” or “demonstrate” some backbone in reference to prove you are not a chicken or coward but rather a brave and courageous person.

  • He is such a coward when it comes to his abusive boss, he needs to get a backbone and stand up to him.
  • There are many that thought the new prime minister would show some backbone, but the issue is they have to get a back bone to show it first!


Justin: Donald, we need to talk about your support.

Donald: OK. What can I do for you.

Justin: I was a little upset when you backtracked when you were challenged. You need to get a backbone if we are going to be able to work together.

Donald: Hmmm. I was just being cautious and didn’t want to commit political suicide by supporting just one side of the issue.

Justin: Well Donald, if you going to make a difference it will mean showing a backboneon the tough issues.

Donald: Alright. What is it I can do to demonstrate more of a background for you?

Justin: When it comes to the key issues you need to straighten your back and show a backbone and support us.           


Other words you can create: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. (ex: mug – mugger)

got a back bone

getting a backbone


You need to get a backbone.

I wish you would show more of a backbone.

They really showed a l lot of backbone when they said no to supporting the issue.

Related  Phrases & Phrasal Verbs:

Faith in oneself- in the context of get a back bone, we use this phrase to say that one has the confidence and sureness of one’s values.

  • She has faith in herself and her abilities and this is where she gets her backbone from when she has difficult issues to deal with.

Will Power- we use this phrase to describe someone who does something difficult and not give up even under the most challenging circumstances.

  • He had always had a lot of willpower especially when he was challenged and really need to demonstrate backbone when others were weak in character.

Staying power- when someone demonstrates and sustains an activity or commitment to something even though it might cause physical/mental fatigue they are said to demonstrate staying power.

  •  He got his backbone from his staying power on controversial issues.

Tower of strength- we use this phrase to describe a person who always dependable and has the steadfast ability to be there when they are needed.

  • He has gets his backbone from his father who has always been a tower of strength for him to draw on.

Strength of purpose- someone who has strength of purpose is someone who is determined to do what they say they would do.

  • He has shown a backbone and I was impressed with his strength of purpose to complete the project. 

Related idioms:

Intestinal fortitude- we use this phrase to describe someone who has the strength of character to and courage to continue even if something is difficult

Moral fiber- when we demonstrate the strength and ability to saw what we think is right even if it is not popular, especially in a difficult situation we are demonstrating moral fiber.

Stiff upper lip- this is a phrase that is used to describe person who shows strength and fortitude in the face of difficult times and adversity.

What it takes- in the context of get a backbone, we use this phrase to say that a person will have the confidence to do what they believe to be right.

Synonyms (other ways to say):

  • Your spineless
  • No backbone
  • Show some backbone
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