\ ˈspī-kē \
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 \ adverb
spikiness \ ˈspī-​kē-​nəs \ noun

Examples of spiky in a Sentence

a plant with spiky leaves He has a spiky personality.

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Sunlight bounces around in these pits, boosting sublimation further in the depths and eventually creating fields of spiky ice towers. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Jupiter Moon Europa's Jagged Ice Towers Could Imperil Robot Landers," 8 Oct. 2018 Some accused Madonna, in her spiky silver headpiece, heavy necklaces and beaded bracelets, of cultural appropriation. Leanne Italie, The Seattle Times, "Madonna’s rambling Aretha Franklin tribute earns backlash," 21 Aug. 2018 The most striking difference is up front with that spiky head. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Spiky-Headed Armored Dinosaur Discovered in Utah Was Basically a Tank," 20 July 2018 Think: Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘90s-era bleach blonde pixies and Victoria and David Beckham’s spiky noughties locks. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "What Justin Bieber’s Hair Says About His Engagement to Hailey Baldwin," 30 July 2018 Luckily, the baby isn't real, and is just a doll, but still: And in the second image, the same terrifying hand, with its long, spiky fingernails, covers the baby's mouth. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "American Horror Story Season 8 Has a Creepy New Title and Poster," 21 July 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.

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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

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spiky

The first known use of spiky was in 1578

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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).


to deny responsibility for

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