[ pir-uh-mid ]
See synonyms for: pyramidpyramiddedpyramidding on

  1. Architecture.

    • (in ancient Egypt) a quadrilateral masonry mass having smooth, steeply sloping sides meeting at an apex, used as a tomb.

    • (in ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian Central America) a quadrilateral masonry mass, stepped and sharply sloping, used as a tomb or a platform for a temple.

  2. anything of such form.

  1. a number of persons or things arranged or heaped up in this manner: a pyramid of acrobats; a pyramid of boxes.

  2. a system or structure resembling a pyramid, as in hierarchical form.

  3. Geometry. a solid having a polygonal base, and triangular sides that meet in a point.

  4. Crystallography. any form the planes of which intersect all three of the axes.

  5. Anatomy, Zoology. any of various parts or structures of pyramidal form.

  6. a tree pruned or trained to grow in conical form.

  7. pyramids, (used with a singular verb)British. a form of pocket billiards for two or four players in which 15 colored balls, initially placed in the form of a triangle, are pocketed with one white cue ball.

verb (used without object)
  1. to take, or become disposed in, the form of a pyramid.

  2. Stock Exchange. (in speculating on margin) to enlarge one's operations in a series of transactions, as on a continued rise or decline in price, by using profits in transactions not yet closed, and consequently not yet in hand, as margin for additional buying or selling in the next transaction.

  1. to increase gradually, as with the completion of each phase: Our problems are beginning to pyramid.

verb (used with object)
  1. to arrange in the form of a pyramid.

  2. to raise or increase (costs, wages, etc.) by adding amounts gradually.

  1. to cause to increase at a steady and progressive rate: New overseas markets have pyramided the company's profits.

  2. Stock Exchange. (in speculating on margin) to operate in, or employ in, pyramiding.

Origin of pyramid

First recorded in 1350–1400; from Latin pȳramid- (stem of pȳramis ), from Greek pȳramís; replacing Middle English pyramis, from Latin, as above

Other words from pyramid

  • pyr·a·mid·like, adjective

Words Nearby pyramid Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pyramid in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pyramid


/ (ˈpɪrəmɪd) /

  1. a huge masonry construction that has a square base and, as in the case of the ancient Egyptian royal tombs, four sloping triangular sides

  2. an object, formation, or structure resembling such a construction

  1. maths a solid having a polygonal base and triangular sides that meet in a common vertex

  2. crystallog a crystal form in which three planes intersect all three axes of the crystal

  3. anatomy any pointed or cone-shaped bodily structure or part

  4. finance a group of enterprises containing a series of holding companies structured so that the top holding company controls the entire group with a relatively small proportion of the total capital invested

  5. mainly US the series of transactions involved in pyramiding securities

  6. (plural) a game similar to billiards with fifteen coloured balls

  1. to build up or be arranged in the form of a pyramid

  2. mainly US to speculate in (securities or property) by increasing purchases on additional margin or collateral derived from paper profits associated with high prices of securities and property in a boom

  1. finance to form (companies) into a pyramid

Origin of pyramid

C16 (earlier pyramis): from Latin pyramis, from Greek puramis, probably from Egyptian

Derived forms of pyramid

  • pyramidal (pɪˈræmɪdəl), pyramidical or pyramidic, adjective
  • pyramidally or pyramidically, adverb

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