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Word of the Day
Monday, August 31, 2015

Definitions for helix

  1. a spiral.
  2. Geometry. the curve formed by a straight line drawn on a plane when that plane is wrapped around a cylindrical surface of any kind, especially a right circular cylinder, as the curve of a screw. Equation: x = a sinθ, y = a cosθ, z = b θ.
  3. Architecture. a. a spiral ornament. b. (in a Corinthian capital) either of two scrolls issuing from a cauliculus. Compare Corinthian (def. 2).

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Citations for helix
What Wilkins described on that occasion was evidence he had obtained which suggested that DNA had the form of a helix, rather like a spiral staircase. Jim Holt, "Photo Finish," The New Yorker, October 28, 2002
But what's different here is the blades are canted into a helix with a twist of sixty degrees. Ian McEwan, Solar, 2010
Origin of helix
Helix can be traced to the Greek hélix meaning "anything twisted." It entered English in the mid-1500s in the context of Corinthian architecture.