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helix

[hee-liks]
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noun, plural hel·i·ces [hel-uh-seez] /ˈhɛl əˌsiz/, he·lix·es.
  1. a spiral.
  2. Geometry. the curve formed by a straight line drawn on a plane when that plane is wrapped around a cylindrical surface of any kind, especially a right circular cylinder, as the curve of a screw. Equation: x = a sinθ, y = a cosθ, z = b θ.
  3. Architecture.
    1. a spiral ornament.
    2. (in a Corinthian capital) either of two scrolls issuing from a cauliculus.Compare Corinthian(def 2).
  4. Anatomy. the curved fold forming most of the rim of the external ear.
  5. Biochemistry. alpha helix.
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Origin of helix

1555–65; < Latin: a spiral, a kind of ivy < Greek hélix anything twisted; compare helíssein to turn, twist, roll
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for helix

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Sometimes the helix is prolonged so as to divide the concha in two.

    Criminal Man

    Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

  • The expanded metal covering was also wire tied to the helix.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

  • For ornaments they have a stick in the helix, or simple ornament in the ear-lobe.

  • Does the current in the wire at the top of the helix move east or west?

    Physics

    Willis Eugene Tower

  • Helix (Theba) cartusiana (first noticed near a Carthusian monastery).

    Our British Snails

    John William Horsley


British Dictionary definitions for helix

helix

noun plural helices (ˈhɛlɪˌsiːz) or helixes
  1. a curve that lies on a cylinder or cone, at a constant angle to the line segments making up the surface; spiral
  2. a spiral shape or form
  3. the incurving fold that forms the margin of the external ear
  4. another name for volute (def. 2)
  5. any terrestrial gastropod mollusc of the genus Helix, which includes the garden snail (H. aspersa)
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin, from Greek: spiral; probably related to Greek helissein to twist
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 helix

n.

"a spiral thing," 1560s, from Latin helix "spiral," from Greek helix (genitive helikos), related to eilein "to turn, twist, roll," from PIE *wel-ik-, from root *wel- "to turn, revolve" (see volvox).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

helix in Medicine

helix

(hēlĭks)
n. pl. he•lix•es
  1. A spiral form or structure.
  2. The folded rim of skin and cartilage around most of the outer ear.
  3. A three-dimensional curve that lies on a cylinder or cone, so that its angle to a plane perpendicular to the axis is constant.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

helix in Science

helix

[hēlĭks]
  1. A three-dimensional spiral curve. In mathematical terms, a helix can be described as a curve turning about an axis on the surface of a cylinder or cone while rising at a constant upward angle from a base.
  2. Something, such as a strand of DNA, having a spiral shape.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

helix in Culture

helix

[(hee-liks)]

In geometry, a three-dimensional spiral shape, resembling a spring.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.