he·​lix | \ˈhē-liks \
plural helices\ ˈhe-​lə-​ˌsēz , ˈhē-​ \ also helixes\ ˈhē-​lik-​səz \

Definition of helix 

1 : something spiral in form: such as

a : an ornamental volute

b : a coil formed by winding wire around a uniform tube

2 : the incurved rim of the external ear

3 : a curve traced on a cylinder or cone by the rotation of a point crossing its right sections at a constant oblique angle broadly : spiral sense 1b

Examples of helix in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Before the end you will be taken on a wild ride with a 540-degree helix, one spiral, a camelback hill and a carousel curve. Julia Fawal, Woman's Day, "10 Things You Never Knew About Roller Coasters," 24 July 2015 Martina designed a badge with a rainbow ladder that could also resemble a DNA helix. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "How YouTube creators are using the platform’s new Patreon-like subscriptions," 21 June 2018 The four-minute-and-50-second ride is known for its two huge vertical drops of 135 and 141 feet respectively, and three tunnels with a 540-degree helix turn at the very end. Julia Fawal, Woman's Day, "10 Things You Never Knew About Roller Coasters," 24 July 2015 By evening, an empty half-helix was all that remained of every bean on the vine. Murr Brewster, The Christian Science Monitor, "Attack of the purple ‘bean trees’," 6 June 2018 The structure can form from ordinary double-helix DNA, usually in acidic environments. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Discover That the Double Helix Isn't the Only DNA Form," 24 Apr. 2018 What a waste of time for a human to have to find the nearest facility, drive there, helix up endless ramps, and then cruise the aisles. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Forget Self Driving. The Future is in Self Parking," 25 Mar. 2018 The study, put together by the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill urban planning firm, includes numerous near-term infrastructure possibilities beyond demolition of the Joe, including the removal of the Cobo parking helix and Exit 1A from the Lodge. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Study: Joe Louis demolition, better access on nearby streets would open up Detroit's Riverfront," 12 Mar. 2018 Highlights of this day in history: Scientists discover DNA's double-helix structure; The Branch Davidian standoff begins in Waco, Texas; Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme assassinated; U2 releases its 'War' album. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Waco' star Taylor Kitsch on playing 'manipulative,' but not crazy Branch Davidian leader," 23 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'helix.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of helix

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for helix

Latin, from Greek; akin to Greek eilyein to roll, wrap — more at voluble

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Time Traveler for helix

The first known use of helix was in 1563

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English Language Learners Definition of helix

: the shape formed by a line that curves around and along a central line


he·​lix | \ˈhē-liks \
plural helices\ ˈhel-​ə-​ˌsēz , ˈhē-​lə-​ \ also helixes\ ˈhē-​lik-​səz \

Medical Definition of helix 

1 : the incurved rim of the external ear

2 : a curve traced on a cylinder by the rotation of a point crossing its right sections at a constant oblique angle broadly : spiral sense 2 — see alpha-helix, double helix

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More from Merriam-Webster on helix

Spanish Central: Translation of helix

Nglish: Translation of helix for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of helix for Arabic Speakers

Comments on helix

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