• synonyms


[wahyuh r-ee]
adjective, wir·i·er, wir·i·est.
  1. made of wire.
  2. in the form of wire.
  3. resembling wire, as in form, stiffness, etc.: wiry grass.
  4. lean and sinew: a wiry little person.
  5. produced by or resembling the sound of a vibrating wire: wiry tones.
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Origin of wiry

First recorded in 1580–90; wire + -y1
Related formswir·i·ly, adverbwir·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wirily

Historical Examples of wirily

  • He was a tall man, wirily and powerfully built, past middle-age, but still bearing well his years.

    Belford's Magazine, Vol. II, No. 3, February 1889


  • Jerome wriggled under the man's detaining grasp, as wirily instinct with nerves as a cat; he kicked out viciously at his shins.

    Jerome, A Poor Man

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

British Dictionary definitions for wirily


adjective wirier or wiriest
  1. (of people or animals) slender but strong in constitution
  2. made of or resembling wire, esp in stiffnesswiry hair
  3. (of a sound) produced by or as if by a vibrating wire
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Derived Formswirily, adverbwiriness, noun
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 wirily



1580s, "made of wire," from wire (n.) + -y (2). As "resembling wire," From 1590s; sense of "lean, tough" is first recorded 1808. Related: Wiriness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wirily in Medicine


  1. Resembling wire in form or quality, especially in stiffness.
  2. Sinewy and lean.
  3. Filiform and hard. Used of a pulse.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.