\ ˈspī-kē How to pronounce spiky (audio) \
variants: or less commonly spikey
spikier; spikiest

Definition of spiky

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by spikes spiky barbed wire
2 : sharply irritating or acerbic (as in temper or manner)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spiky

spikily \ ˈspī-​kə-​lē How to pronounce spikily (audio) \ adverb
spikiness \ ˈspī-​kē-​nəs How to pronounce spikiness (audio) \ noun

Examples of spiky in a Sentence

a plant with spiky leaves He has a spiky personality.

Recent Examples on the Web

Here is one that is just a pine cone that evolves into some kind of spiky ball. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, "“Aren’t you a little too old for that?” Two decades of playing Pokémon," 2 Sep. 2018 But a ridgy or spiky roller will target more specific spots with greater intensity. Amy Marturana, SELF, "How to Shop for a Foam Roller," 30 Mar. 2019 While Gallina and his colleagues continue the hunt for more Bajadasaurus pronuspinax specimens in Patagonia, zoologists and entomologists around the world can look to creatures in their fields for current examples of spiky weaponry and regalia. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Newly Discovered Dinos Had Badass Bone Mohawks," 7 Feb. 2019 There’s a trailer to celebrate the occasion, complete with four-eyed penguins and some sort of spiky tentacle nightmare-creature. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: The sordid tale of Starbreeze's stumbles, Overwatch players learn piano (with guns)," 1 Feb. 2019 Greater sage grouse are spiky-tailed, ground-dwelling birds about the size of chickens. Dan Elliott, The Seattle Times, "Governors: Trump directive could hurt effort to save bird," 14 Aug. 2018 And fault-ridden Meg Murry — spiky, unlikable Meg Murry, who feels like a monster in her glasses and braces — is what makes the whole thing work so well. Constance Grady, Vox, "A Wrinkle in Time is a joyous celebration of its heroine’s anger," 29 Nov. 2018 Snip away most leaves, letting each radish retain a sprightly leaf or two or, alternatively, give it a short, spiky ’do. Leah Eskin, chicagotribune.com, "Herb-flecked butter makes rich contrast to bite of radishes," 3 Apr. 2018 Dad Sneakers Sparkle Though Demna Gvasalia was one of the first to champion the dad sneaker a few seasons ago, his spiky Vetements version couldn’t top Gucci’s highly Instagrammable crystal-embellished style. Vogue, "The Most Popular Shoes of 2018, According to You, Our Instagram Followers," 19 Dec. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of spiky

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spiky

Dictionary Entries near spiky


spike tub



spiky Jack



Statistics for spiky

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spiky

The first known use of spiky was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spiky



English Language Learners Definition of spiky

: having sharp points : formed into points
British, informal : tending to become angry or annoyed easily

More from Merriam-Webster on spiky

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spiky

Britannica English: Translation of spiky for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spiky

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!