noun (1)
\ ˈspī(-ə)r How to pronounce spire (audio) \

Definition of spire

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a slender tapering blade or stalk (as of grass)
2 : the upper tapering part of something (such as a tree or antler) : pinnacle
3a : a tapering roof or analogous pyramidal construction surmounting a tower
b : steeple a church spire


verb (1)
spired; spiring

Definition of spire (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to rise like a spire


noun (2)

Definition of spire (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : spiral
b : coil
2 : the inner or upper part of a spiral gastropod shell consisting of all the whorls except the whorl in contact with the body


verb (2)
spired; spiring

Definition of spire (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to rise in or as if in a spiral

Illustration of spire

Illustration of spire

Noun (1)

S spire 3a

In the meaning defined above

First Known Use of spire

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1591, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spire

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English spīr; akin to Middle Dutch spier blade of grass

Noun (2)

Latin spira coil, from Greek speira; perhaps akin to Greek sparton rope, esparto

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spire

Time Traveler for spire

Time Traveler

The first known use of spire was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for spire

Cite this Entry

“Spire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spire. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spire


\ ˈspīr How to pronounce spire (audio) \

Kids Definition of spire

1 : a pointed roof especially of a tower

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on spire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spire

Spanish Central: Translation of spire

Nglish: Translation of spire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spire for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spire

Comments on spire

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!