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

Nick Fox, owner of the Sibuya Game Reserve in Eastern Cape province, says human remains were found Tuesday along with a high-powered rifle, wire cutters and other equipment. Houston Chronicle, "Lions kill suspected rhino poachers in South Africa," 6 July 2018 While investigators haven’t confirmed how many people were killed, CNN reported that three pairs of boots and three pairs of gloves were found, as well as a high-powered rifle with a silencer, wire cutters, and an axe. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Lions Kill Suspected Rhino Poachers in South Africa," 6 July 2018 The lions then ate what officials at the reserve believe to have been three poachers, who were armed with an axe, wire cutters and a silencer — common tools of the trade for poachers. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Karma Bites: Lions Devour Poachers Hunting Rhinos in South Africa," 5 July 2018 The team found a high-powered rifle, gloves, wire cutters and the remains of a backpack with food, water and other supplies — classic hallmarks of rhino poachers. USA TODAY, "Pride of lions eat suspected 'rhino poachers' on South African game reserve," 5 July 2018 The poachers entered the reserve with a slew of weapons — including a high-powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and food supplies for a number of days — on the night of July 1 or the early hours of July 2. Gina Martinez, Time, "A Pride of Lions Killed and Ate a Group of Rhino Poachers Who Broke Into a Wildlife Reserve," 5 July 2018 The bomb, hidden in a pair of wire cutters, exploded as sappers neutralized it remotely. New York Times, "Gaza Militants Barrage Israel With Mortars and Rockets," 29 May 2018 Amarin said, as another protester beside him brandished a yellow wire cutter. Fares Akram, chicagotribune.com, "Palestinians head to Gaza-Israel border for weekly protests," 4 May 2018 Using wire cutters, hooks, and winches, the demonstrators tried to pull down the barriers that Israeli forces have relied upon to hold back the protesters. Iyad Abuheweila, BostonGlobe.com, "3 killed as Gaza protesters again charge fence," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In just five years Manafort had spent $520,000 at Bijan, splurging on such items as a $48,000 blue lizard jacket and a $12,000 pink pinstripe suit, paid for with money wired from overseas accounts. Maer Roshan, Town & Country, "In Beverly Hills and Beyond, Bijan Carries on a Tradition of Excess and Exclusivity," 22 Oct. 2018 During that time, Huynh wired about $425,000 from a company account at Royal Bank of Canada to accounts controlled by herself and her , prosecutors said. Alana Levene, BostonGlobe.com, "Canadian woman pleads guilty to stealing $600,000 from Mass. employer," 27 June 2018 If the Frenchman can get a clean break, this duo might just wire the field. New York Times, "Kentucky Derby 2018: Odds and Our Experts’ Predictions," 4 May 2018 The man, whose jaw was wired shut at a hospital, was able to identify Mansaw from a photo lineup. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "Man charged with killing a woman and beating a man in the face with a brick," 12 July 2018 The technology requires only a small exterior antenna that is wired into a building’s communications equipment. BostonGlobe.com, "Starry completes a $100 million funding round," 7 July 2018 Nearly all Portland-are high schools, still start before 8:45 a.m. despite a growing body of research that shows teens are wired to stay up late and wake up late. Bethany Barnes, OregonLive.com, "Let high school students sleep in to promote learning, mental health, proponents urge," 11 June 2018 And here is Ovechkin now, enveloped by a hug from teammate Lars Eller, howling at the wrister that center Evgeny Kuznetsov wired past Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, celebrating the eventual game-winner in a 3-1 triumph. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Alex Ovechkin 'Possessed' in High-Energy Game 3 Performance," 3 June 2018 His jaw was also wired shut for three weeks and permanent metal plates were placed inside of his jaw and cheek, the D.A. said. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Lindsay Lohan’s Cousin Allegedly Beaten by 2 Men, New Jersey Police Officer Charged," 12 July 2018

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

12 Nov 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

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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