Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A solid figure with a polygonal base and triangular faces that meet at a common point.
  • n. Something shaped like this polyhedron.
  • n. A massive monument of ancient Egypt having a rectangular base and four triangular faces culminating in a single apex, built over or around a crypt or tomb.
  • n. Any of various similar constructions, especially a four-sided Mesoamerican temple having stepped sides and a flat top surmounted by chambers.
  • n. The transactions involved in pyramiding stock.
  • n. Anatomy A structure or part suggestive of a pyramid in shape.
  • transitive v. To place or build in the shape of a pyramid.
  • transitive v. To build (an argument or thesis, for example) progressively from a basic general premise.
  • transitive v. To speculate in (stock) by making a series of buying and selling transactions in which paper profits are used as margin for buying more stock.
  • intransitive v. To assume the shape of a pyramid.
  • intransitive v. To increase rapidly and on a widening base.
  • intransitive v. To pyramid stocks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ancient massive construction with a square or rectangular base and four triangular sides meeting in an apex, such as those built as tombs in Egypt or as bases for temples in Mesoamerica.
  • n. A construction in the shape of a pyramid, usually with a square or rectangular base.
  • n. A solid with triangular lateral faces and a polygonal (often square or rectangular) base.
  • n. A pyramid scheme.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A solid body standing on a triangular, square, or polygonal base, and terminating in a point at the top; especially, a structure or edifice of this shape.
  • n. A solid figure contained by a plane rectilineal figure as base and several triangles which have a common vertex and whose bases are sides of the base.
  • n. The game of pool in which the balls are placed in the form of a triangle at spot.
  • n. a fraudulent investment scheme in which the manager promises high profits, but instead of investing the money in a genuine profit-making activity, uses the money from later investors to pay the profits to earlier investors; -- also called pyramid scheme or pyramid operation. This process inevitably collapses when insufficient new investors are available, leaving the later investors with total or near-total losses of their investments. The managers usually blame government regulations or interference for the collapse of the scheme, rather than admit fraud.
  • intransitive v. To enlarge one's holding or interest in a series of operations on a continued rise or decline by using the profits to buy or sell additional amounts on a margin, as where one buys on a 10% margin 100 shares of stock quoted at 100, holds it till it rises to 105, and then uses the paper profit to buy 50 shares more, etc. The series of operations constitutes a pyramid. A similar process of reinvesting gains or winnings (as of a gamble), but not involving operation on margin, is called a parlay.
  • transitive v. To use, or to deal in, in a pyramiding transaction. See pyramid, v. i.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A massive structure of polygonal, usually square plan, the sides of which slope, each usually in one plane, to a common apex.
  • n. In geometry, a solid contained by a plane polygon as base and other planes meeting in a point.
  • n. In crystallography, a form, in any system but the isometric, bounded by eight, twelve, sixteen, or twenty-four planes, and consisting of two four-, six-, eight-, or twelve-sided pyramids placed base to base.
  • n. In zoology and anatomy, a pyramidal or conical part, structure, or organ; specifically, a mass of longitudinal fibers on each side of the anterior median fissure of the oblongata. See cut under Elasmobranchii.
  • n. The pile of five or six triangular valves covering an opening on the oral surface of the body of a cystic crinoid. The structure is variously interpreted as ovarian or oro-anal.
  • n. In medieval architecture, a pinnacle of quadrangular plan, most commonly acutely pyramidal in form; hence, any similar feature. Compare pyramidion.
  • n. The American columbo, or Indian lettuce, Frasera Carolinensis.
  • n.
  • n. One of the five large pieces in the dental apparatus of some echinoids.
  • n. A game of pool begun by arranging in a triangle 15 balls, which the various players in turn endeavor to pocket with a single cue-ball. Customarily each ball pocketed counts 1, and the player continues as long as ho makes at each stroke and does not pocket the cue-ball.
  • n. A variety of checkers in which the pieces are arranged in the form of a pyramid.
  • In stock-dealings on margin, to speculate or continue to speculate on one's profits, that is, to use the profit made on one transaction as margin on a second and the profit on that (if any) as margin on a third, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a polyhedron having a polygonal base and triangular sides with a common vertex
  • v. arrange or build up as if on the base of a pyramid
  • n. (stock market) a series of transactions in which the speculator increases his holdings by using the rising market value of those holdings as margin for further purchases
  • v. increase rapidly and progressively step by step on a broad base
  • v. enlarge one's holdings on an exchange on a continued rise by using paper profits as margin to buy additional amounts
  • v. use or deal in (as of stock or commercial transaction) in a pyramid deal
  • n. a massive monument with a square base and four triangular sides; begun by Cheops around 2700 BC as royal tombs in ancient Egypt

Etymologies

Latin pȳramis, pȳramid-, from Greek pūramis, probably of Egyptian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French pyramide, from Old French piramide, from Latin pyramis, genitive pyramides, from Ancient Greek πυραμίς (pyramís), of unknown origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • _First_, He laid down that the term pyramid was misapplied, as the term referred only to figures and structures of a special mathematical form; being apparently quite unaware that, as shown in the text and notes, pp. 219 and 220, it was often applied archæologically to sepulchral mounds and erections that were not faced, and which did not consist of a series of triangles meeting in an apex.

    Archaeological Essays, Vol. 1

  • Although the term "pyramid" may sound rather pejorative, it is true of all pension schemes.

    The Economist: Daily news and views

  • He notes that the late American psychologist Abraham Maslow never mentioned the word pyramid when writing about his "hierarchy of needs," but that shape has helped us to understand - to literally see - the concept.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • As an unofficial spokesperson for the Super-villain Community, I would like to respectfully request that you use the term pyramid scheme when reporting on the Bernie Madoff financial fraud story.

    Evil Inc.

  • He alone could contact the gods and the pyramid is the ultimate extension of this very humanly evolved process.

    Name Stargate | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • “The top of the pyramid is a problem as well as the bottom.”

    Global Voices in English » Harvard Forum: the complex world of ICT and gender

  • The crumbling old adobe facade long known to have been a platform of the pyramid is there, but painted in butterfly and jaguar designs.

    A glass garden

  • Lesson Two: Unless you have a burro or a Sherpa, the smartest thing to bring with you when climbing a pyramid is a rope and harness.

    Mexico City visit: your money's no good

  • And now they're going to try what we call the pyramid with two men, and the third man being on top, look at there.

    CNN Transcript Apr 8, 2001

  • He says this may be a chance to build on what he calls a "pyramid peace."

    NPR Topics: News

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