\ 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)

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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

But their initially spiky dynamic quickly becomes the movie’s narrative thrust and emotional center. Justin Chang, chicagotribune.com, "‘Give Me Liberty’ review: A medical transport van welcomes all," 12 Sep. 2019 Other, lower-living species—showy gentians, a spiky aster relative called Chuquiraga, purple lupines—had moved upslope by an average of more than 500 meters since 1802. Tim Appenzeller, Science | AAAS, "Global warming has made iconic Andean peak unrecognizable," 11 Sep. 2019 The spiky plastic needles wouldn’t make very good nests, and most animals are not religious enough to want a holiday tree in their burrows. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Did an animal take part of a Christmas tree from an Alamo backyard?," 4 Sep. 2019 The meat is flavorful and juicy, encased in a spiky, golden sea urchin of batter—surprisingly light, uncommonly crispy. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America," 20 Aug. 2019 But their initially spiky dynamic quickly becomes the movie’s narrative thrust and emotional center. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Give Me Liberty’ is a brilliant madcap farce on wheels," 29 Aug. 2019 In the main, spiky ideas—as well as people—slide backwards and forwards between Georgia and the world with an ease that would astound a Soviet time-traveller. The Economist, "A culture clash in the Caucasus," 29 Aug. 2019 Ebola infiltrates its victims’ cells using spiky proteins on the virus’s outer shell, so researchers screened the antibodies for the ones that did the best job of binding to those proteins. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Ebola Is Now Curable. Here’s How the New Treatments Work," 12 Aug. 2019 This variation was meant to evoke the jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker (whose nickname was Bird), as well as otherworldly percussion and harmonically spiky string writing. Allan Kozinn, BostonGlobe.com, "Michael Colgrass, composer who transcended genres, dies at 87," 10 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of spiky

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near spiky


spike tub



spiky Jack



Statistics for spiky

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for spiky

The first known use of spiky was in 1578

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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

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readily or continually undergoing change

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