[wahyuh r-ee]

adjective, wir·i·er, wir·i·est.

made of wire.
in the form of wire.
resembling wire, as in form, stiffness, etc.: wiry grass.
lean and sinew: a wiry little person.
produced by or resembling the sound of a vibrating wire: wiry tones.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for wiry

Contemporary Examples of wiry

Historical Examples of wiry

  • He is a man of a slim, but wiry figure, about five feet ten inches in height.

  • She was a wiry woman, a mass of muscles animated by an eager energy.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • A wiry, sharp-faced man he was, with a birth-mark upon his temple.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Though still slight of build I was wiry, high-strung and quick of movement.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Some were mounted; some led by the rein, wiry little bronchos.

British Dictionary definitions for wiry


adjective wirier or wiriest

(of people or animals) slender but strong in constitution
made of or resembling wire, esp in stiffnesswiry hair
(of a sound) produced by or as if by a vibrating wire
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 wiry

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wiry in Medicine




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