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[pir-uh-mid] /ˈpɪr ə mɪd/
  1. (in ancient Egypt) a quadrilateral masonry mass having smooth, steeply sloping sides meeting at an apex, used as a tomb.
  2. (in ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian Central America) a quadrilateral masonry mass, stepped and sharply sloping, used as a tomb or a platform for a temple.
anything of such form.
a number of persons or things arranged or heaped up in this manner:
a pyramid of acrobats; a pyramid of boxes.
a system or structure resembling a pyramid, as in hierarchical form.
Geometry. a solid having a polygonal base, and triangular sides that meet in a point.
Crystallography. any form the planes of which intersect all three of the axes.
Anatomy, Zoology. any of various parts or structures of pyramidal form.
Also called pyramid scheme. a scheme that pyramids, as in speculating on the stock exchange or writing a chain letter.
a tree pruned or trained to grow in conical form.
pyramids, (used with a singular verb) British. a form of pocket billiards for two or four players in which 15 colored balls, initially placed in the form of a triangle, are pocketed with one white cue ball.
verb (used without object)
to take, or become disposed in, the form of a pyramid.
Stock Exchange. (in speculating on margin) to enlarge one's operations in a series of transactions, as on a continued rise or decline in price, by using profits in transactions not yet closed, and consequently not yet in hand, as margin for additional buying or selling in the next transaction.
to increase gradually, as with the completion of each phase:
Our problems are beginning to pyramid.
verb (used with object)
to arrange in the form of a pyramid.
to raise or increase (costs, wages, etc.) by adding amounts gradually.
to cause to increase at a steady and progressive rate:
New overseas markets have pyramided the company's profits.
Stock Exchange. (in speculating on margin) to operate in, or employ in, pyramiding.
Origin of pyramid
1350-1400; < Latin pȳramid- (stem of pȳramis) < Greek pȳramís; replacing Middle English pyramis < Latin, as above
Related forms
pyramidlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pyramids
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is another odd thing in that country, not far from the pyramids.

    Jack Mason, The Old Sailor Theodore Thinker
  • The other pyramids at Gizeh are usually regarded as later in date.

  • These were really great men, not the productions of a moment, thrown briefly into the lime-light, but solid like the pyramids.

    The Candidate Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • I cannot produce his proof from the pyramids, and from some caves in Arabia.

  • More enduring than the pyramids, always noted by admiring and grateful humanity, to whom it gives comfort and inspiration.

    Inventors & Inventions Henry Robinson
British Dictionary definitions for pyramids


a huge masonry construction that has a square base and, as in the case of the ancient Egyptian royal tombs, four sloping triangular sides
an object, formation, or structure resembling such a construction
(maths) a solid having a polygonal base and triangular sides that meet in a common vertex
(crystallog) a crystal form in which three planes intersect all three axes of the crystal
(anatomy) any pointed or cone-shaped bodily structure or part
(finance) a group of enterprises containing a series of holding companies structured so that the top holding company controls the entire group with a relatively small proportion of the total capital invested
(mainly US) the series of transactions involved in pyramiding securities
(pl) a game similar to billiards with fifteen coloured balls
to build up or be arranged in the form of a pyramid
(mainly US) to speculate in (securities or property) by increasing purchases on additional margin or collateral derived from paper profits associated with high prices of securities and property in a boom
(finance) to form (companies) into a pyramid
Derived Forms
pyramidal (pɪˈræmɪdəl), pyramidical, pyramidic, adjective
pyramidally, pyramidically, adverb
Word Origin
C16 (earlier pyramis): from Latin pyramis, from Greek puramis, probably from Egyptian
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pyramids



1550s (earlier in Latin form piramis, late 14c.), from French pyramide (Old French piramide "obelisk, stela," 12c.), from Latin pyramides, plural of pyramis "one of the pyramids of Egypt," from Greek pyramis (plural pyramides) "a pyramid," apparently an alteration of Egyptian pimar "pyramid." Financial sense is from 1911. Related: Pyramidal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pyramids in Medicine

pyramid pyr·a·mid (pĭr'ə-mĭd)

  1. A solid figure with a polygonal base and triangular faces that meet at a common point.

  2. A structure or part shaped like a pyramid.

py·ram'i·dal (pĭ-rām'ĭ-dl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pyramids in Culture

pyramids definition

A group of huge monuments in the desert of Egypt, built as burial vaults for ancient Egyptian kings. The age of pyramid building in Egypt began about 2700 b.c. (See under “World History to 1550.”)

pyramids definition

A group of huge monuments in the Egyptian desert, built as burial vaults for the pharaohs and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The pyramids have square bases and four triangular faces. Pyramid building began in Egypt about 2700 b.c. and required vast amounts of slave labor.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for pyramids



Shoes with extremely thick soles and heels

[1970s+; in the sense ''very thick soles,'' found by 1945]


Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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