Origin of spiral

1545–55; < Medieval Latin spīrālis, equivalent to Latin spīr(a) coil (< Greek speîra anything coiled, wreathed, or twisted; see spire2) + -ālis -al1
Related formsspi·ral·i·ty [spahy-ral-i-tee] /spaɪˈræl ɪ ti/, nounspi·ral·ly, adverbmul·ti·spi·ral, adjectivenon·spi·ral, adjective, nounsub·spi·ral, adjectivesub·spi·ral·ly, adverbun·spi·ral, adjectiveun·spi·ral·ly, adverbun·spi·raled, adjectiveun·spi·ralled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for spiral

spiral

noun

geometry one of several plane curves formed by a point winding about a fixed point at an ever-increasing distance from it. Polar equation of Archimedes spiral: r = a θ; of logarithmic spiral: log r = a θ; of hyperbolic spiral: r θ = a, (where a is a constant)
another name for helix (def. 1)
something that pursues a winding, usually upward, course or that displays a twisting form or shape
a flight manoeuvre in which an aircraft descends describing a helix of comparatively large radius with the angle of attack within the normal flight rangeCompare spin (def. 16)
economics a continuous upward or downward movement in economic activity or prices, caused by interaction between prices, wages, demand, and production

adjective

having the shape of a spiral

verb -rals, -ralling or -ralled or US -rals, -raling or -raled

to assume or cause to assume a spiral course or shape
(intr) to increase or decrease with steady accelerationwages and prices continue to spiral
Derived Formsspirally, adverb

Word Origin for spiral

C16: via French from Medieval Latin spīrālis, from Latin spīra a coil; see spire ²
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 spiral
adj.

1550s, from Middle French spiral, from Medieval Latin spiralis "winding, coiling" (mid-13c.), from Latin spira "coil," from Greek speira "coil, twist, wreath," from PIE *sper- "to turn, twist." Spiral galaxy first attested 1913.

v.

1726 (implied in spiraled), from spiral (n.). Transferred and figurative sense by 1922. Related: Spiraling.

n.

1650s, from spiral (adj.). U.S. football sense is from 1896.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spiral in Medicine

spiral

[spīrəl]

adj.

Coiling or developing around an axis in a constantly changing series of planes; helical.

n.

A structure in the shape of a coil.

v.

To take the form or course of a spiral.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.