noun (1)
\ ˈspīk How to pronounce spike (audio) \

Definition of spike

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a very large nail
2a : 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
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
4 spikes plural : spike heel sense 2
5 : the act or an instance of spiking (as in volleyball)
6a : a pointed element in a graph or tracing
b : an unusually high and sharply defined maximum (as of amplitude in a wave train)
8 : a momentary sharp increase and fall in electric potential also : action potential
9 : an abrupt sharp increase (as in prices or rates)


spiked; spiking

Definition of spike (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to fasten or furnish with spikes
2a : to disable (a muzzle-loading cannon) temporarily by driving a spike into the vent
b : to suppress or block completely spiked the rumor
3a : to pierce or impale with or on a spike
b : to reject (a story) for publication or broadcast for editorial reasons
4a : 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


noun (2)

Definition of spike (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from spike

Noun (1)

spikelike \ ˈspīk-​ˌlīk How to pronounce spikelike (audio) \ adjective


spiker noun

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.
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First Known Use of spike

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1624, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spike

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

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Time Traveler for spike

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for spike

Cite this Entry

“Spike.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiker. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for spike



English Language Learners Definition of spike

: to add alcohol or drugs to (food or drink)
: to add something that gives flavor or interest to (something)
chiefly US : to increase greatly in a short period of time


\ ˈspīk How to pronounce spike (audio) \

Kids Definition of spike

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a very large nail
2 : something pointed like a nail She even wanted to forget … her horrible hair, now drying into stiff spikes.— Beverly Cleary, Ramona Quimby
3 : one of the metal objects attached to the heel and sole of a shoe (as a baseball shoe) to prevent slipping


spiked; spiking

Kids Definition of spike (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to fasten with large nails
2 : to pierce or cut with or on a large nail
3 : to hit or throw (a ball) sharply downward
4 : to add alcohol or drugs to



Kids Definition of spike (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a tight mass of grain spikes of wheat
2 : a long usually rather narrow flower cluster in which the blossoms grow very close to a central stem


\ ˈspīk How to pronounce spike (audio) \

Medical Definition of spike

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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
spiked; spiking

Medical Definition of spike (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on spike

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spike

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spike

Spanish Central: Translation of spike

Nglish: Translation of spike for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spike for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spike

What made you want to look up spike? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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