spike

1 of 3

noun (1)

plural spikes
1
: a very large nail
2
a
: one of a row of pointed irons placed (as on the top of a wall) to prevent passage
b(1)
: one of several metal projections set in the sole and heel of a shoe to improve traction
(2)
spikes plural : a pair of shoes having spikes attached to the soles or soles and heels
They met when after a round of golf he came into the restaurant at which she worked—still wearing his golf spikes.John Strege
3
: something resembling a spike: such as
a
: a young mackerel not over six inches (15.2 centimeters) long
b
: an unbranched antler of a young deer
c
: spike protein
Without its spikes, the pathogen can't get into human cells.Katherine J. Wu
4
spikes plural : spike heel sense 2
5
: the act or an instance of spiking (as in volleyball)
6
a
: a pointed element in a graph or tracing
b
: an unusually high and sharply defined maximum (as of amplitude in a wave train)
7
8
: a momentary sharp increase and fall in electric potential
9
: an abrupt sharp increase (as in prices or rates)
a spike in unemployment
a spike in the number of infections
spikelike adjective

spike

2 of 3

verb

spiked; spiking

transitive verb

1
: to fasten or furnish with spikes
2
a
: to disable (a muzzle-loading cannon) temporarily by driving a spike into the vent
b
: to suppress or block completely
spiked the rumor
3
a
: to pierce or impale with or on a spike
b
: to reject (a story) for publication or broadcast for editorial reasons
4
a
: to add an alcoholic beverage to (a drink)
spiked the punch
b
: to add a foreign substance to
spike the coffee with tranquilizers
c
: to add something highly reactive (such as a radioactive tracer) to
d
: to add vitality, zest, or spice to : liven
spiked the speech with humor
spike the broth with peppers
5
: to drive (something, such as a volleyball) sharply downward with a hard blow
also : to throw down sharply
spiked the ball in the end zone
6
: to undergo a sudden sharp increase in (temperature or fever)
the patient spiked a fever of 103°

intransitive verb

: to increase sharply
battery sales spiked after the storm
spiker noun

spike

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
: an ear of grain
2
: an elongated inflorescence similar to a raceme but having the flowers sessile on the main axis see inflorescence illustration

Examples of spike in a Sentence

Verb Someone spiked the punch at the party. The medication caused his blood pressure to spike. She spiked the ball and scored the winning point. After he scored a touchdown he spiked the ball in the end zone.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
And his campaign was quick to make and sell merchandise with a fake Trump mugshot from Fulton County, Ga. His campaign sends emails out to supporters following court appearances or rulings, which contribute to these spikes. Ximena Bustillo, NPR, 13 Apr. 2024 The pursuit ended when road spikes were used to disable the vehicle. David Clarey, Journal Sentinel, 11 Apr. 2024 The trial found that spikes did not cause tires to deflate fast enough to prevent cars from entering highways in the wrong direction. Max Filby, The Enquirer, 5 Apr. 2024 Texas plant is the latest in spike of US bird flu cases Nearly two million chickens were slaughtered after Cal-Maine Foods announced positive tests at its Texas plant for bird flu. USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 While high fat foods such as almonds and avocados are high in calories, fats offer slow meal absorption and actually help to avoid blood sugar spikes. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024 Spotify’s stock price is up about 5.5% ($284) in morning trading, following a brief spike of as much as 7.4%. Elias Leight, Billboard, 3 Apr. 2024 This is not unique to Louisville, as other major cities saw spikes in carjackings. Rachel Smith, The Courier-Journal, 1 Apr. 2024 Labor experts attribute the spike in child labor violations, which have tripled over the past 10 years according to a Post analysis, to a tight labor market that has prompted employers to hire more teens, as well as migrant children arriving from Latin America. Lauren Kaori Gurley, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2024
Verb
Of note, oil companies’ earnings have spiked in the past two years following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which threatened an energy crisis. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 12 Apr. 2024 Get The Recipe 06 of 12 Retro Rum Punch Get your New Year's party going with this retro punch recipe spiked with a dose of nostalgia. Michelle Darrisaw, Southern Living, 11 Apr. 2024 Child labor violations tracked by the federal government have spiked nationally, including investigations tied to Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel, 8 Apr. 2024 Internet searches for the condition have spiked, as Kennedy and his gravelly voice have become regular staples on the news. James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2024 When the last total solar eclipse cut a path across America in 2017, AT&T reported network usage spikes up to 15% around certain cell towers in the path of totality. John Towfighi, CNN, 6 Apr. 2024 At Arizona, his attempts and accuracy spiked: 36 of 93, or 38.7 percent. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2024 On Saturday, the pollen index will spike to a 8.1, and Sunday’s pollen index will be at a 7.9. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 5 Apr. 2024 Food allergies, which can be deadly, have also spiked. Kari Nadeau, STAT, 4 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spike.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, probably from Old Norse spīk splinter & spīkr spike; akin to Middle Dutch spiker spike — more at spoke

Noun (2)

Middle English spik, from Latin spica — more at spine

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1624, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spike was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near spike

Cite this Entry

“Spike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spike. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

spike

1 of 3 noun
1
: a very large nail
2
a
: one of the metal objects set in the sole and heel of a shoe (as a baseball shoe) to prevent slipping
b
plural : a pair of shoes having spikes
3
: an unbranched antler of a young deer
4
: the act or an instance of spiking (as in volleyball)
5
: a pointed element (as in a graph)

spike

2 of 3 verb
spiked; spiking
1
: to fasten or furnish with spikes
2
: to pierce or cut with or on a spike
3
: to add alcoholic liquor to a drink
4
: to drive (as a volleyball) sharply downward
5
: to increase sharply
battery sales spiked after the storm

spike

3 of 3 noun
1
: an ear of grain
2
: a long usually rather narrow cluster of flowers in which the blossoms grow close to the central stem
Etymology

Noun

Middle English spike "a large nail"; probably of Scandinavian origin

Noun

Middle English spik "a head of a stalk of grain, ear," from Latin spica (same meaning)

Medical Definition

spike

1 of 2 noun
: a change (as in voltage) involving a sharp increase and fall or a recording of this: as
a
: the pointed element in the wave tracing in an electroencephalogram
b
: a sharp increase in body temperature followed by a rapid fall
a fever with spikes to 103°
c(1)
: the sharp increase and fall in the recorded action potential of a stimulated nerve cell that during the increasing phase corresponds to an inrush of sodium ions to the interior of the cell and during the decreasing phase corresponds to a slowing of the influx of sodium ions and to an increasing efflux of potassium ions to the exterior

spike

2 of 2 transitive verb
spiked; spiking
: to undergo a sudden sharp increase in (temperature or fever) usually up to an indicated level
infected patients spiked fevers as high as 105°F

More from Merriam-Webster on spike

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