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
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
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 How to pronounce wire (audio) \ adjective


wirer \ ˈwī(-​ə)r-​ər How to pronounce wire (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 However, the company places a cap on each withdrawal payment, starting at $1,000, and those wire transfers — which carry a $25 fee — take a substantial amount of time to complete. Jon Sarlin, CNN, "NBA Top Shot customers can't get their money out. Experts are confounded," 27 Apr. 2021 Following the first recent election cycle where Democrats outpaced Republicans in voting-by-mail, lawmakers in Florida are working down to the wire to make changes to state voting laws. Quinn Scanlan, ABC News, "Florida lawmakers working to make changes to state voting laws before session ends," 27 Apr. 2021 In August, federal authorities say Brooks initiated two wire transfers of more than $145,000 to a title company regarding a property purchase in Baltimore. Washington Post, "Feds charge D.C. pastor with fraud, alleging theft of more than $1.5 million in PPP loans aimed at pandemic relief," 25 Apr. 2021 Just as American Idol is really starting to get down to the wire, the show is going on a (very) mini break. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "We Know 'American Idol' Fans Aren't Going to Like This Episode Announcement," 25 Apr. 2021 Six of Phoenix's last seven games have come down to the wire with the lone blowout coming in a 140-103 home variety over undermanned Oklahoma City. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Look back at outlasting Rockets, ahead to major back-to-back tests vs. Jazz, Clippers," 6 Apr. 2021 The Padres won a busy offseason and are expected to take the Dodgers to the wire in the NL West and meet them in the NLCS to decide the pennant. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants beat San Diego 3-2 in opener amid talk of Padres-Dodgers 'rivalry'," 5 Apr. 2021 If Arkansas can cut down on turnovers and string together some stops, this will come down to the wire. Scottie Bordelon, Arkansas Online, "Arkansas loses to Baylor in Elite Eight," 30 Mar. 2021 The Pistons mostly rose to the occasion despite the outcome, playing the Nets down to the wire for the third time this season. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Blake Griffin stands out in return as Detroit Pistons fall to Brooklyn Nets, 113-111," 27 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb La Blue Amore – Filly won gate to wire by 1 ¼ lengths in a fast :12.212. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Horse racing newsletter: Jon White’s Kentucky Derby rankings," 9 Apr. 2021 Anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card or send cash is a scammer. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Scam alert: No, the Social Security Administration isn't going to suspend your SSN," 2 Dec. 2020 After his loan was approved, the informant was given instructions to wire a cut of the money to Stote and Charno and make the payments seem like remodeling fees. Andrew Boryga, sun-sentinel.com, "Lies, kickbacks and many helpers: How two fraud rings got rich quick by raiding millions in COVID relief aid," 2 Apr. 2021 Wiese, 70, is a veteran artist with nearly 30 years of experience turning beads and wire into earrings, ornaments and sculptures. Bruno Povejsil, Star Tribune, "Interact in St. Paul is a visual and performing arts center for artists with disabilities," 24 Mar. 2021 Scammers may ask victims for gift card numbers or bank account numbers over the phone, or to wire or mail cash. Ashlea Ebeling, Forbes, "CVS, Walmart, Home Depot Join Fight Against Social Security Scams," 3 Mar. 2021 Gather a few sprigs of each and secure with florists wire to create groupings. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Make a Colorful Dried Flower Wreath," 25 Feb. 2021 Let cool on pans 2 minutes and remove to wire racks to cool completely. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Vegan Ginger Cookies recipe," 1 Dec. 2020 After negotiating with him, Mr. Hill and Tim Moore, the manager of Longleat House, agreed to wire him the reward money. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Charles Hill, Detective Who Found ‘The Scream,’ Dies at 73," 10 Mar. 2021

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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wire. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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
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
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 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

Comments on wire

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