[ spahyk ]
See synonyms for: spikespikedspikes on Thesaurus.com

  1. a naillike fastener, 3 to 12 inches (7.6 to 30.5 centimeters) long and proportionately thicker than a common nail, for fastening together heavy timbers or railroad track.

  2. something resembling such a nail; a stiff, sharp-pointed piece or part: to set spikes in the top of a cement wall.

  1. a sharp-pointed piece of metal set with the point outward, as on a weapon.

  2. an abrupt increase or rise: a chart showing a spike of unusual activity in the stock market; a sudden spike of electrical current.

  3. a rectangular or naillike metal projection on the heel and sole of a shoe for improving traction, as of a baseball player or a runner.

  4. spikes, a pair of shoes having such projections.

  5. the unbranched antler of a young deer.

  6. Botany. a flower stalk.

  7. a pointed portion of a continuous curve or graph, usually rising above the adjacent portion: a spike in the value of the voltage.

  8. Volleyball. a hard smash, hit close to the net, almost straight down into the opponent's court.

  9. Slang. a hypodermic needle.

verb (used with object),spiked, spik·ing.
  1. to fasten or secure with a spike or spikes.

  2. to provide or set with a spike or spikes.

  1. to pierce with or impale on a spike.

  2. to set or stud with something suggesting spikes.

  3. to injure (another player or a competitor) with the spikes of one's shoe, as in baseball.

  4. Volleyball. to hit (a ball in the air) with a powerful, overarm motion from a position close to the net so as to cause it to travel almost straight down into the court of the opponents.

  5. Football. to slam (the ball) to the ground in the end zone, after scoring a touchdown.

  6. to render (a muzzle-loading gun) useless by driving a spike into the touchhole.

  7. to make ineffective; frustrate or thwart: to spike a rumor; to spike someone's chances for promotion.

  8. Informal.

    • to add alcoholic liquor to (a drink).

    • to add (a chemical, poison, or other substance) to: The cocoa was spiked with cyanide.

  9. Journalism Slang. to refuse (a story) by or as if by placing on a spindle.

verb (used without object),spiked, spik·ing.
  1. to rise or increase sharply (often followed by up): Interest rates spiked up last week.

Idioms about spike

  1. spike someone's guns. gun1 (def. 16).

Origin of spike

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun spik(e), from Old Norse spīkr “nail”; akin to Old Norse spīk “splinter,” Middle Low German spīker “nail”

Other words from spike

  • spikelike, adjective

Words Nearby spike

Other definitions for spike (2 of 2)

[ spahyk ]

  1. an ear, as of wheat or other grain.

  2. Botany. an inflorescence in which the flowers are without a stalk, or apparently so, along an elongated, unbranched axis.

Origin of spike

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English spik(e), spika, probably special use of spike1, influenced by Latin spīca “ear of grain”

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use spike in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spike (1 of 2)


/ (spaɪk) /

  1. a sharp point

  2. any sharp-pointed object, esp one made of metal

  1. a long metal nail

  2. physics

    • a transient variation in voltage or current in an electric circuit

    • a graphical recording of this, such as one of the peaks on an electroencephalogram

  3. (plural) shoes with metal projections on the sole and heel for greater traction, as used by athletes

  4. the straight unbranched antler of a young deer

  5. British slang another word for dosshouse

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to secure or supply with or as with spikes

  2. to render ineffective or block the intentions of; thwart

  1. to impale on a spike

  2. to add alcohol to (a drink)

  3. journalism to reject (a news story)

  4. volleyball to hit (a ball) sharply downwards with an overarm motion from the front of one's own court into the opposing court

  5. (formerly) to render (a cannon) ineffective by blocking its vent with a spike

  6. spike someone's guns to thwart someone's purpose

Origin of spike

C13 spyk; related to Old English spīcing nail, Old Norse spīk splinter, Middle Low German spīker spike, Norwegian spīk spoke ², Latin spīca sharp point; see spike ²

British Dictionary definitions for spike (2 of 2)


/ (spaɪk) /

  1. an inflorescence consisting of a raceme of sessile flowers, as in the gladiolus and sedges

  2. an ear of wheat, barley, or any other grass that has sessile spikelets

Origin of spike

C14: from Latin spīca ear of corn

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

Scientific definitions for spike


[ spīk ]

  1. An elongated indeterminate inflorescence in which the flowers are attached directly to a common stem, rather than borne on individual stalks arising from the stem. The gladiolus produces spikes. The distinctive spikes of grasses such as wheat or barley are known as spikelets. See illustration at inflorescence.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.