[spahyuh r]


a tall, acutely pointed pyramidal roof or rooflike construction upon a tower, roof, etc.
a similar construction forming the upper part of a steeple.
a tapering, pointed part of something; a tall, sharp-pointed summit, peak, or the like: the distant spires of the mountains.
the highest point or summit of something: the spire of a hill; the spire of one's profession.
a sprout or shoot of a plant, as an acrospire of grain or a blade or spear of grass.

verb (used without object), spired, spir·ing.

to shoot or rise into spirelike form; rise or extend to a height in the manner of a spire.

Origin of spire

before 1000; Middle English; Old English spīr spike, blade; cognate with Middle Dutch spier, Middle Low German spīr shoot, sprout, sprig, Old Norse spīra stalk
Related formsspire·less, adjectiveun·spir·ing, adjective
Can be confusedspire steeple
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spiring

Historical Examples of spiring

  • The tendency is to slender, spiring tops, while they are narrower below.

    The Maine Woods

    Henry David Thoreau

  • Round and up, and ever up it went, narrowing and spiring to the zenith.

    Lore of Proserpine

    Maurice Hewlett

  • Lovely starry night, the tall, spiring tree-tops relieved in jet black against the sky.

  • The San Lorenzo fort was now a spiring red flame of fire—a beacon to the ships at sea.

    On the Spanish Main

    John Masefield

  • It also chanced that I had stopped in a spot where the spiring trunks rose naked of boughs to a considerable height.

    A Maid of the Kentucky Hills

    Edwin Carlile Litsey

British Dictionary definitions for spiring




Also called: steeple a tall structure that tapers upwards to a point, esp one on a tower or roof or one that forms the upper part of a steeple
a slender tapering shoot or stem, such as a blade of grass
the apical part of any tapering formation; summit


(intr) to assume the shape of a spire; point up
(tr) to furnish with a spire or spires
Derived Formsspiry, adjective

Word Origin for spire

Old English spīr blade; related to Old Norse spīra stalk, Middle Low German spīr shoot, Latin spīna thorn




any of the coils or turns in a spiral structure
the apical part of a spiral shell
Derived Formsspiriferous (spaɪəˈrɪfərəs), adjective

Word Origin for spire

C16: from Latin spīra a coil, from Greek speira
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 spiring



Old English spir "sprout, shoot, stalk of grass," from Proto-Germanic *spiraz (cf. Old Norse spira "a stalk, slender tree," Middle Low German spir "a small point or top"), from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (see spike (n.1)). Meaning "tapering top of a tower or steeple" first recorded 1590s (a sense attested in Middle Low German since late 14c. and also found in the Scandinavian cognates). The verb is first recorded early 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper