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have no backbone

To have no courage, resolve, or strength of character. I just wish Tom would have stood up for our team when the CEO started criticizing our work. For a manager, he seems to have no backbone. These politicians have no backbone. They just do and say whatever will get them elected.
See also: backbone, have, no

put (one's) backbone into (something)

To exert a strong effort toward (doing) something. Come on, we need to get this car off the road. Put your backbone into it and push! It's clear that the legislators have put their backbones into crafting a bill that will find support across party lines, as well in the general population.
See also: backbone, put

put backbone into (one)

To embolden one; to give one courage or determination. All of their encouragement put backbone into me to tell the boss we wanted better working conditions. She was afraid of changing careers, but the thought of staying in this dead end job forever put backbone into Janet.
See also: backbone, put

success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone

Success is achieved through dedication and effort, not one's hopes, dreams, or wishful thinking. You need to work on your writing every single day if you really want to be a famous author because success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone.
See also: depend, not, on, success

to the backbone

Through and through; thoroughly; in every manner or respect. The fellow is stubborn to the backbone; he won't even listen to my plan the whole way through! Though he grew up in America, Henry is still British to the backbone.
See also: backbone, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

put backbone into someone

encourage someone to behave resolutely.
As a metaphor for ‘firmness of character’, backbone dates from the mid 19th century.
1998 Spectator There is a widespread belief that if only Mrs Thatcher had still been in No. 10, she would have put backbone into Bush and got rid of Saddam .
See also: backbone, put, someone

to the backbone

in every respect; through and through.
See also: backbone, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


n. courage; integrity. (Colloquial.) If you had any backbone, you would be able to deal with this.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Boldly, we suppose that six methylene spacers can bend to be parallel to backbones as being drawn, which results in more regular molecular structures to co-crystallization.
The strategic independence of the storage network backbone has empowered enterprise IT professionals to build and manage a more universal, utility-based infrastructure that can scale beyond the limitations of traditional SAN fabrics.
The Asia-Pacific region should know no backbone congestion after the transpacific Japan-U.S.
The optical Internet, by comparison, will bypass SONET altogether, providing for a backbone without capacity restrictions or distance limitations.
Upgrading to FDDI and Fast Ethernet switching can reduce congestion in backbones that transmit primarily data, the Gartner Croup notes, but "clients looking for a strategic backbone upgrade must evaluate ATM as the only technology that provides high-speed switching along with the ability to support mixed traffic types, including data, voice and video."
Figure 2 depicts the T3 NSFNET backbone topology, which replaced the earlier TI architecture in 1992.
BACKBONES exists to help people with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D) and their families connect with their communities.
It's the backbone technology for data networks, but Fibre Channel supplanted it for high-speed storage networking.
Switch Breaks New Ground for ATM, Frame Relay and IP Services over a Single, Multiservice Backbone to Help Customers Grow Revenues and Minimize Operations Costs
This conversion activity is being spurred by the fact that old commercial buildings tend to be the ideal candidates for adaptive reuse because they generally offer the required high ceilings, reinforced floors, large floor plates, and nearby fiber-optic backbone access.
InterNAP's private network access point (P-NAP) provides high-bandwidth direct private peering between Seanet customers and the seven major backbones.
First, what architectures are in place today: collapsed backbones, distributed backbones, both?
of the Philippines [NGCP] focuses on upgrading and expanding transmission backbones to support entry of new generating facilities and allow market competition,' the Department of Energy (DOE) said in its 2018 Power Supply and Demand report.Based on the report, the Mindanao 230-kilovolt (kV) backbone project is expected to be completed this year.
Prospect Heights resident Reveca Torres is the founder and director of BACKBONES, a nonprofit serving people with spinal cord injury and disabilities nationwide.
Telia Carrier owns and operates one of the world's most extensive fiber backbones. Discover more at