Informal name for animals possessing a notochord during at least some stage of their lives.

Chordate in particular is an informal name for a clade of non- deuterostome animals.

Though some chordates are invertebrates, the vast majority instead are vertebrates. That is, the chordates include all members of subphylum Vertebrata as well as a small subset of animals that lack , particularly lancelets and tunicates.

The latter are members of subphyla (the tunicates) and (the lancelets).

In addition to the notochord, chordates, which are members of phylum Chordata, possess trhee other distinguishing features during at least some portion of their lives: pharyngeal clefts (or pharyngeal slits), a muscular post-anal tail, and a dorsal hollow nerve chord. Also, chordates possess known as .