Nearby words

  1. spir-,
  2. spiracle,
  3. spiracular,
  4. spiradenoma,
  5. spiraea,
  6. spiral arm,
  7. spiral bandage,
  8. spiral bevel gear,
  9. spiral binding,
  10. spiral canal of cochlea

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 forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spiralling

British Dictionary definitions for spiralling



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


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 spiralling
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for spiralling




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


A structure in the shape of a coil.


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.