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[wahyuh r-ee] /ˈwaɪər i/
adjective, wirier, wiriest.
made of wire.
in the form of wire.
resembling wire, as in form, stiffness, etc.:
wiry grass.
lean and sinew:
a wiry little person.
produced by or resembling the sound of a vibrating wire:
wiry tones.
Origin of wiry
First recorded in 1580-90; wire + -y1
Related forms
wirily, adverb
wiriness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wiry
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He is a man of a slim, but wiry figure, about five feet ten inches in height.

  • She was a wiry woman, a mass of muscles animated by an eager energy.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • A wiry, sharp-faced man he was, with a birth-mark upon his temple.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Though still slight of build I was wiry, high-strung and quick of movement.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Some were mounted; some led by the rein, wiry little bronchos.

British Dictionary definitions for wiry


adjective wirier, wiriest
(of people or animals) slender but strong in constitution
made of or resembling wire, esp in stiffness: wiry hair
(of a sound) produced by or as if by a vibrating wire
Derived Forms
wirily, adverb
wiriness, noun
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 wiry

1580s, "made of wire," from wire (n.) + -y (2). As "resembling wire," From 1590s; sense of "lean, tough" is first recorded 1808. Related: Wiriness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wiry in Medicine

wiry wir·y (wīr'ē)
adj. wir·i·er, wir·i·est

  1. Resembling wire in form or quality, especially in stiffness.

  2. Sinewy and lean.

  3. Filiform and hard. Used of a pulse.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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