noun, often attributive
\ ˈwī(-ə)r How to pronounce wire (audio) \

Definition of wire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : metal in the form of a usually very flexible thread or slender rod
b : a thread or rod of such material
b : the meshwork of parallel or woven wire on which the wet web of paper forms
3 : something (such as a thin plant stem) that is wirelike
4 wires plural
a : a system of wires used to operate the puppets in a puppet show
b : hidden influences controlling the action of a person or organization
5a : a line of wire for conducting electric current — compare cord sense 3b
b : a telephone or telegraph wire or system especially : wire service
6 : fencing or a fence of usually barbed wire
7a : the finish line of a race
b : the final decisive moment (as of a contest) the negotiations came down to the wire
under the wire
1 : at the finish line
2 : at the last moment
wire to wire or from wire to wire
: from start to finish led the race wire to wire


wired; wiring

Definition of wire (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to provide with wire : use wire on for a specific purpose
2 : to send or send word to by telegraph
3 : to connect by or as if by a wire
4 : to predispose, determine, or establish genetically or innately controversy over the extent to which human violence is wired biologically

intransitive verb

: to send a telegraphic message

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Other Words from wire


wirelike \ ˈwī(-​ə)r-​ˌlīk How to pronounce wirelike (audio) \ adjective


wirer \ ˈwī(-​ə)r-​ər How to pronounce wirer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for wire

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of wire in a Sentence

Noun The flowers were bound together with thin wire. There was a wire sticking out of the chair. A telephone wire had fallen on the road during the storm. A short black wire connects the computer's monitor to its keyboard. The undercover officer wore a wire to her meeting with the drug dealer. Verb The house will be wired next week. My room is wired for cable. The microphone is wired to the speaker. You can wire the generator to a car battery. Her jaw was wired shut after the accident. She wired the money home to Canada. Can you wire me $300? When you get in to town, wire me.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now their vast reserves of energy are channeled into Nintendo Switches and GoNoodle sessions—nothing to connect them but the fiber and copper wires threading through their walls. Laura Mallonee, Wired, "The Eerie Stillness of Empty Schoolyards," 10 May 2020 Sightless, the bird became at least somewhat docile, allowing the deputies to carefully remove the wire from its feet. oregonlive, "Sheriff’s deputies rescue injured bald eagle trapped on wire fence in Washington County; it’s now recovering at Portland Audubon," 8 May 2020 The microfiber masks feature cloth ear straps and metal nose wire and are designed to fit snugly over your face. Christina Butan, PEOPLE.com, "Banana Republic’s Face Masks Sold Out Within Minutes — but They’re Finally Back in Stock," 7 May 2020 For her masks, Mellow uses 100-percent cotton fabric, filter fabric, 22- or 24-gauge metal wire, and cotton thread to keep them inexpensive. Jenna Schoenefeld, Popular Mechanics, "How Citizens Are Helping Healthcare Workers Fight the Coronavirus," 6 May 2020 The cleavage-framing wire detail has been trending in the influencer world for a couple of summers. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Tana Mongeau Wore the V-Wire Bikini Trend Instagram is Obsessed With," 6 May 2020 Fluorescent lights and electrical wires dangle above us. Madeline Ostrander, Smithsonian Magazine, "In a Tunnel Beneath Alaska, Scientists Race to Understand Disappearing Permafrost," 4 May 2020 These fighter jets operate with what’s known as a fly-by-wire system. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "Everything to know about the fighter jets in the ‘America Strong’ flyovers," 1 May 2020 For one, all electronics are contained within the prosthesis, which removes the need for external equipment, such as wires, electrodes, or batteries. Shafaq Zia, STAT, "Mind-controlled prosthetic arm enables patients to feel the objects they grip," 30 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb McLaughlin said that Intel will continue to sell both the Killer lines of wired and wireless controllers, and that the technology would be broadly applicable to both consumers, business, and commercial lines. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Updated: Intel buys Rivet Networks and its Killer Networking brand to beef up its Wi-Fi tech," 20 May 2020 Avoid wiring money or using a cash app or gift card. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Better Business Bureau Warns of Surge in “Puppy Scams” Amid Coronavirus Pandemic," 18 May 2020 Hours after California wired $457 million to buy 100 million masks that Blue Flame owners said were already at the Port of Los Angeles, banks involved in the transaction flagged it as potentially fraudulent. Los Angeles Times, "California lawmakers question state’s vetting of failed coronavirus contracts," 11 May 2020 Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers to a stranger. oregonlive, "Portland therapists warn about scam from caller professing to be from Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office," 4 May 2020 What a pleasure to see the underrated Steve Zahn in a leading role that fully capitalizes on the contradictory currents coursing through his screen persona — of mellowness and wired energy, grounded warmth and off-kilter unpredictability. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Cowboys': Film Review | Tribeca 2020," 1 May 2020 Detectives are working with the bank and other law enforcement agencies -- possibly federal as well -- to try to track the wired money and determine where subpoenas may be needed. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Porch pirates sail off with boxes left outside due to coronavirus concerns: Pepper Pike Police Blotter," 1 May 2020 Apple has included a charging brick, a Lightning/USB charging cable, and EarPods wired earbuds in the box. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iPhone SE review: Small screen, huge performance," 29 Apr. 2020 Najib helped himself to $1 billion, including $681 million wired into his personal bank account in March 2013 for the urgent purpose of financing his 2013 presidential campaign. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, "The Malaysian Job," 27 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wire.' 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 wire


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for wire


Middle English wir, wyre, going back to Old English wīr, going back to Germanic *wīra-, whence Middle Low German wire "flexible metal, filigree," Old Norse vír-, in víravirki "filigree work," and (with presumed lowering of ī to ē2 before r) Old High German wiara, wiera "fine gold, ornament of gold filigree," going back to a nominal derivative with a suffix -r- from Indo-European *u̯ei̯H- "plait, wrap," whence Latin vieō, viēre "to plait, weave," Old Church Slavic poviti "to wrap up, bind," Lithuanian výti "to twist," and probably to Sanskrit vyayati "(it) covers, envelops," vīta- "covered, hidden"


Middle English *wiren (in past participle y-wyred), derivative of wyr, wire wire entry 1

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Time Traveler for wire

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wire

Last Updated

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wire. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for wire


How to pronounce wire (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a thin, flexible thread of metal
: a thread of metal that is covered with plastic, rubber, etc., and used to send or receive electricity or electrical signals
US : a small microphone that is worn under clothing in order to secretly record a conversation



English Language Learners Definition of wire (Entry 2 of 2)

: to provide (a building, room, etc.) with wires for a particular service or for electricity
: to connect (a device) to another device by using wires
: to use wire to close or hold (something)


\ ˈwīr How to pronounce wire (audio) \

Kids Definition of wire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : metal in the form of a thread or slender rod
2 : a number of strands grouped together and used to send or receive electrical signals


wired; wiring

Kids Definition of wire (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to provide or equip with wire An electrician wired the house.
2 : to bind with wire
3 : to send or send word to by telegraph


\ ˈwī(ə)r How to pronounce wire (audio) \

Medical Definition of wire

: metal thread or a rod used in surgery to suture soft tissue or transfix fractured bone and in orthodontic dentistry to position teeth

Other Words from wire

wire transitive verb wired; wiring

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More from Merriam-Webster on wire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wire

Spanish Central: Translation of wire

Nglish: Translation of wire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wire for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wire

Comments on wire

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