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[spahyuh rz]
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  1. Speyer.


[spahyuh r]
  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


[spahyuh r]
  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

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British Dictionary definitions for spires


  1. the English name for Speyer


  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
  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


  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 spires



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