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 Fiscal brinkmanship has become a regular feature of U.S. politics over the past decade, thanks to ongoing partisan polarization, with debt ceiling deals coming down to the wire in 2011 and 2017. NBC News, 29 Sep. 2021 After three down-to-the-wire editions, the Laver Cup finally came up short of drama. New York Times, 27 Sep. 2021 Trill Williams is an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse, and Campbell was claimed off the waiver wire ahead of the season when he was waived by the New York Jets. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, 19 Sep. 2021 Some of the other features, though, came down to the wire. Bethy Squires, Vulture, 4 Aug. 2021 Coleman is a potential class-altering talent, but his recruitment will come down to the wire. oregonlive, 3 Aug. 2021 Law enforcement, like a bunch of modern-day McNulties listening to the wire, were able to de-encrypt messages practically in real time. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 9 June 2021 The negotiations went down to the wire, with Labor and Yamina feuding over the makeup of a parliamentary committee. Time, 3 June 2021 Thursday night at Willow Brook Park, the Class S girls track and field championships came down to the wire, the 4x400 relay. Lori Riley, courant.com, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb LaShaun Smalls, owner of an electric company, was hired as a contractor to wire up parts of the hospital. Joe Rubin, The New Republic, 17 Sep. 2021 This summer, state lawmakers approved a bill requiring almost half the gas stations in New York City, on Long Island, and in other downstate communities to install emergency switches to wire up with nearby backup power generators. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 4 Sep. 2021 The method can automatically draw up the basics of a design, including the placement of components and how to wire them together, by trying different designs in simulation and learning which ones produce the best results. Will Knight, Wired, 13 Aug. 2021 Her determination to wire up Tehran, at a time in which the West was seeking to contain Iran’s nuclear program, attracted protests among American officials. New York Times, 24 Sep. 2021 Let cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then slide parchment and cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Kate Merker, Good Housekeeping, 29 July 2021 Once at the suspects’ home, Stephens called his banker, a call which was recorded, and asked him to wire $250,000 to Hodge’s bank account. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 14 Aug. 2021 Meanwhile, Ruby had driven to a nearby Western Union office to wire $25 to an employee. Washington Post, 9 July 2021 Street plans of African capitals, or wire frames of housing blocks and highways, commingled with sweeping curves and vivacious scratches. Jason Farago, New York Times, 25 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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Dictionary Entries Near wire



wire agency

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Statistics for wire

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wire. Accessed 18 Oct. 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
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on wire

Nglish: Translation of wire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wire for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wire


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