Nearby words

  1. wiped-out,
  2. wipeout,
  3. wiper,
  4. wipo,
  5. wiradjuri,
  6. wire brush,
  7. wire cloth,
  8. wire cutter,
  9. wire entanglement,
  10. wire fraud


Origin of wire

before 900; Middle English wir(e) (noun), Old English wīr; cognate with Low German wīr, Old Norse vīra- wire, Old High German wiara fine goldwork

Related forms
Can be confusedwhy're wire Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for down to the wire



a slender flexible strand or rod of metal
a cable consisting of several metal strands twisted together
a flexible metallic conductor, esp one made of copper, usually insulated, and used to carry electric current in a circuit
(modifier) of, relating to, or made of wirea wire fence; a wire stripper
anything made of wire, such as wire netting, a barbed wire fence, etc
a long continuous wire or cable connecting points in a telephone or telegraph system
  1. an informal name for telegram, telegraph
  2. the wire an informal name for telephone
a metallic string on a guitar, piano, etc
horse racing, mainly US and Canadian the finishing line on a racecourse
a wire-gauze screen upon which pulp is spread to form paper during the manufacturing process
anything resembling a wire, such as a hair
a snare made of wire for rabbits and similar animals
to the wire or down to the wire informal right up to the last moment
get in under the wire informal, mainly US and Canadian to accomplish something with little time to spare
get one's wires crossed informal to misunderstand
pull wires mainly US and Canadian to exert influence behind the scenes, esp through personal connections; pull strings
take it to the wire to compete to the bitter end to win a competition or title

verb (mainly tr)

(also intr) to send a telegram to (a person or place)
to send (news, a message, etc) by telegraph
to equip (an electrical system, circuit, or component) with wires
to fasten or furnish with wire
(often foll by up) to provide (an area) with fibre optic cabling to receive cable television
to string (beads, etc) on wire
croquet to leave (a player's ball) so that a hoop or peg lies between it and the other balls
to snare with wire
wire in informal to set about (something, esp food) with enthusiasm
Derived Formswirelike, adjective

Word Origin for wire

Old English wīr; related to Old High German wiara, Old Norse vīra, Latin viriae bracelet

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 down to the wire
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with down to the wire

down to the wire

To the last minute; to the very end. For example, We're just about down to the wire with this project. This term comes from horseracing, where it was long the practice to stretch a wire across and above the track at the finish line. It was extended to figurative use about 1900.


see down to the wire; get one's wires crossed; live wire; pull strings (wires); under the wire.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.