1

spiral

play
adjective spi·ral \ˈspī-rəl\

Definition of spiral

  1. 1a :  winding around a center or pole and gradually receding from or approaching it the spiral curve of a watch springb :  helicalc :  spiral-bound a spiral notebook

  2. 2 :  of or relating to the advancement to higher levels through a series of cyclical movements

spirally

play \ˈspī-rə-lē\ adverb

Examples of spiral in a Sentence

  1. a spiral staircase takes visitors up into the Statue of Liberty

Recent Examples of spiral from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of spiral

Medieval Latin spiralis, from Latin spira coil — more at spire


2

spiral

noun spi·ral

Definition of spiral

  1. 1a :  the path of a point in a plane moving around a central point while continuously receding from or approaching itb :  a three-dimensional curve (such as a helix) with one or more turns about an axis

  2. 2 :  a single turn or coil in a spiral object

  3. 3 :  something having a spiral form as:a :  spiral galaxyb (1) :  a spiral flight (2) :  a kick or pass in which a football rotates on its long axis while moving through the air

  4. 4 :  a continuously spreading and accelerating increase or decrease wage spirals

Examples of spiral in a Sentence

  1. The glider flew in a wide spiral over the field.

  2. The quarterback threw a tight spiral to the receiver.

Recent Examples of spiral from the Web

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

First Known Use of spiral

1656


3

spiral

verb spi·ral

Definition of spiral

spiraled

or

spiralled

;

spiraling

or

spiralling

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to go and especially to rise or fall in a spiral course costs spiraled upward

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to form into a spiral

  5. 2 :  to cause to spiral

Examples of spiral in a Sentence

  1. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney.

  2. The airplane spiraled to the ground and crashed.

  3. The unemployment rate has been spiraling upward.

  4. The stock market is spiraling downward.

  5. Let's deal with this crisis before it spirals out of control.

Recent Examples of spiral from the Web

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

First Known Use of spiral

1834



SPIRAL Defined for English Language Learners

spiral

play
adjective

Definition of spiral for English Language Learners

  • : winding or circling around a central point and usually getting closer to or farther away from it : shaped or moving like a spiral

spiral

noun

Definition of spiral for English Language Learners

  • : a circular curving line that goes around a central point while getting closer to or farther away from it

  • : a situation in which something continuously increases, decreases, or gets worse

  • American football : a kick or throw in which the ball spins while moving through the air

spiral

verb

Definition of spiral for English Language Learners

  • : to move in a circle around a central point while getting closer to or farther away from it : to move in a spiral

  • : to greatly increase, decrease, or get worse in a continuous and usually fast and uncontrolled way


SPIRAL Defined for Kids

1

spiral

play
adjective spi·ral \ˈspī-rəl\

Definition of spiral for Students

  1. 1 :  winding or circling around a center and gradually getting closer to or farther away from it a spiral seashell

  2. 2 :  circling around a center like the thread of a screw a spiral staircase


2

spiral

play
noun spi·ral

Definition of spiral for Students

  1. 1 :  a single turn or coil in a spiral object

  2. 2 :  something having a form that winds or circles around a center


3

spiral

play
verb spi·ral

Definition of spiral for Students

spiraled

or

spiralled

;

spiraling

or

spiralling

  1. :  to move in or as if in a winding or circular path Smoke spiraled from the chimney. … an immense caldron … sent great clouds of savory steam spiraling slowly to the ceiling. — Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


Medical Dictionary

1

spiral

play
adjective spi·ral \ˈspī-rəl\

Medical Definition of spiral

  1. 1a:  winding around a center or pole and gradually receding from or approaching itb:  helical the spiral structure of DNA

  2. 2:  being a fracture in which the break is produced by twisting apart the bone a double spiral break

spirally

\-rə-lē\play adverb

2

spiral

noun spi·ral

Medical Definition of spiral

  1. 1:  the path of a point in a plane moving around a central point while continuously receding from or approaching it

  2. 2:  a three-dimensional curve (as a helix) with one or more turns about an axis the double spiral of DNA



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to counsel, recommend, or inform

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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