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spire1

[spahyuh r]
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noun
  1. a tall, acutely pointed pyramidal roof or rooflike construction upon a tower, roof, etc.
  2. a similar construction forming the upper part of a steeple.
  3. a tapering, pointed part of something; a tall, sharp-pointed summit, peak, or the like: the distant spires of the mountains.
  4. the highest point or summit of something: the spire of a hill; the spire of one's profession.
  5. a sprout or shoot of a plant, as an acrospire of grain or a blade or spear of grass.
verb (used without object), spired, spir·ing.
  1. to shoot or rise into spirelike form; rise or extend to a height in the manner of a spire.

Origin of spire1

before 1000; Middle English; Old English spīr spike, blade; cognate with Middle Dutch spier, Middle Low German spīr shoot, sprout, sprig, Old Norse spīra stalk
Related formsspire·less, adjectiveun·spir·ing, adjective
Can be confusedspire steeple

spire2

[spahyuh r]
noun
  1. a coil or spiral.
  2. one of the series of convolutions of a coil or spiral.
  3. Zoology. the upper, convoluted part of a spiral shell, above the aperture.

Origin of spire2

1565–75; < Latin spīra < Greek speîra; see spiral
Related formsspire·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spire

Contemporary Examples

  • The New York Times noted that “the largest model of Spire looks a lot like a giant iPhone.”

  • And as The New York Times reported in May, Marcus Theatres, a chain of movie theaters, has been testing the Spire in Wisconsin.

    Font of Invention

    September 18, 2014

  • But in seven months, the team took the Spire from the drawing board to a real-world test in Albany, New York.

    Font of Invention

    September 18, 2014

  • The Spire, like most fountains, has the basics -- Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Brisk Iced Tea and SoBe Lifewater.

    Font of Invention

    September 18, 2014

  • The Spire rests on the same basic principal as the old-school fountains.

    Font of Invention

    September 18, 2014

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for spire

spire1

noun
  1. Also called: steeple a tall structure that tapers upwards to a point, esp one on a tower or roof or one that forms the upper part of a steeple
  2. a slender tapering shoot or stem, such as a blade of grass
  3. the apical part of any tapering formation; summit
verb
  1. (intr) to assume the shape of a spire; point up
  2. (tr) to furnish with a spire or spires
Derived Formsspiry, adjective

Word Origin

Old English spīr blade; related to Old Norse spīra stalk, Middle Low German spīr shoot, Latin spīna thorn

spire2

noun
  1. any of the coils or turns in a spiral structure
  2. the apical part of a spiral shell
Derived Formsspiriferous (spaɪəˈrɪfərəs), adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Latin spīra a coil, from Greek speira
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

Word Origin and History for spire

n.

Old English spir "sprout, shoot, stalk of grass," from Proto-Germanic *spiraz (cf. Old Norse spira "a stalk, slender tree," Middle Low German spir "a small point or top"), from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (see spike (n.1)). Meaning "tapering top of a tower or steeple" first recorded 1590s (a sense attested in Middle Low German since late 14c. and also found in the Scandinavian cognates). The verb is first recorded early 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper