noun, often attributive
\ ˈwī(-ə)r \

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

2a : wirework

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

c : telegram, cablegram

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

8 : wirehair

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 \ adjective


wirer \ˈwī(-ə)r-ər \ noun

Synonyms for wire

Synonyms: Noun

cable, cord, lace, lacing, line, rope, string

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Examples of wire in a Sentence


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.


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

Can't do without a railing on a second-floor patio, but smartly, it's made of wires to allow maximum view. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dining patios proliferate around Milwaukee; a look at some new ones for 2018," 10 July 2018 With a leader as unpredictable as Trump, that’s a question keeping pundits, advocates, and oddsmakers busy down to the wire. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Trump's Supreme Court Pick May Come From This List. Here's Where They Stand on Women's Issues.," 9 July 2018 The figures come as stock market traders, farmers, and whiskey makers watch anxiously as the issue comes down to the wire. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Trump Threatens China With 11 Times the Tariffs Officially Approved by the U.S.," 5 July 2018 Similarly, War Giant led from gate to wire to capture the Carry Back Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths. Tim Dwyer, Sun-Sentinel.com, "X Y Jet wins Smile Sprint at Gulfstream; long shot Stormy Embrace earns spot in Breeders’ Cup," 30 June 2018 With a cleaner voyage on Closing Day under jockey Julien Leparoux, the son of Midnight Lute should be able to get to the wire first and earn his third lifetime win. Scott Shapiro, The Courier-Journal, "Twinspires.com's free expert pick for Saturday at Churchill Downs," 29 June 2018 With Spain playing against Morocco and Iran facing Portugal and both of the group's spots in the round of 16 up for grabs, the matches went down to the wire. Chris Chavez, SI.com, "WATCH: Simultaneous VAR Reviews Impact Spain, Portugal World Cup Group Results," 25 June 2018 Yet the rebels’ failure to go to the wire leaves them weaker. The Economist, "Theresa May heads off a rebellion," 21 June 2018 Right now, though, Brock Akil is sweating—and not because filming has come down to the wire. Jason Parham, WIRED, "How Oprah’s Network Finally Found Its Voice," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Unifi my Wi-Fi Ubiquiti makes all manner of stuff, ranging from wired gear to full-on heavy-duty WISP equipment. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "What I’ve learned from nearly three years of enterprise Wi-Fi at home," 5 July 2018 In an interview translated by his son, Rustem Kazazi said safety concerns prompted him to take cash on his trip, rather than wire the funds to a local bank. Christopher Ingraham, ajc, "64-year-old put his life savings in his carry-on. U.S. Customs took it," 31 May 2018 Documents filed with his guilty plea in Miami federal court reveal that Koolman received hundreds of thousands of dollars from local mobile-phone vendors wired to those Panama accounts. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Panama Papers — and cellphone porn — exposed him. Now he's facing prison in Miami. | Miami Herald," 13 Apr. 2018 The suit was claims Geils allegedly wired $162,000 to a fraudulent account instead of Merit Title. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brookfield title company sued over claims it didn't protect firm from scammer," 12 Mar. 2018 City National sought information about the source of funds wired to Mr. Davidson’s account, the person said. Michael Rothfeld, WSJ, "Trump Lawyer’s Payment to Stormy Daniels Was Reported as Suspicious by Bank," 5 Mar. 2018 From arts and parks galore to supreme seafood, from wired wilderness to a global cargo center, from health care to federal spending, Alaska has many strong economic blocks to build upon. Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska can save its economy and environment by investing in renewable energy. What are we waiting for?," 23 Feb. 2018 Since the 12-volt battery is a secondary system wired to the 48-volt battery, which in turn is recharged by the starter/alternator, Mercedes deleted the auxiliary belt on the engine’s front side. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and Cabriolet: 429 Horses, Straight-Six Engine," 15 Jan. 2018 The representatives sit at dark-wood desks that are wired to a digital board on which yea and nay votes are tallied in green and red. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, "The Teachers’ Strike and the Democratic Revival in Oklahoma," 4 June 2017

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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Dictionary Entries near wire

wiping rod




wire agency



Statistics for wire

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wire

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

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More Definitions for wire



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

: 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 \

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

3 : telegram


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 \

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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Comments on wire

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