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

  • n. A top part or point that tapers upward; a pinnacle.
  • n. A structure or formation, such as a steeple, that tapers to a point at the top.
  • n. A slender, tapering part, such as a newly sprouting blade of grass.
  • transitive v. To furnish with a spire.
  • intransitive v. To rise and taper steeply.
  • n. A spiral.
  • n. A single turn of a spiral; a whorl.
  • n. The area farthest from the aperture and nearest the apex on a coiled gastropod shell.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The part of a spiral generated in one revolution of the straight line about the pole.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A slender stalk or blade in vegetation.
  • n. A tapering body that shoots up or out to a point in a conical or pyramidal form. Specifically (Arch.), the roof of a tower when of a pyramidal form and high in proportion to its width; also, the pyramidal or aspiring termination of a tower which can not be said to have a roof, such as that of Strasburg cathedral; the tapering part of a steeple, or the steeple itself.
  • n. A tube or fuse for communicating fire to the chargen in blasting.
  • n. The top, or uppermost point, of anything; the summit.
  • n. A spiral; a curl; a whorl; a twist.
  • n. The part of a spiral generated in one revolution of the straight line about the pole. See Spiral, n.
  • intransitive v. To breathe.
  • intransitive v. To shoot forth, or up in, or as if in, a spire.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sprout, as grain in malting.
  • To shoot; shoot up sharply.
  • To shoot or send forth.
  • To furnish with a spire or spires.
  • To breathe.
  • A Middle English form of speer.
  • n. A sprout or shoot of a plant.
  • n. A stalk of grass or some similar plant; a spear.
  • n. The continuation of the trunk in a more or less excurrent tree above the point where branching begins.
  • n. A name of various tall grasses, as the marram, Ammophila arundinacea; the reed canary-grass, Phalaris arundinacea; and the common reed, Phragmites communis. Britten and Holland, Eng. Plant Names.
  • n. In mining, the tube carrying the train to the charge in the blast-hole: so called from the spires of grass or rushes used for the purpose. Also called reed or rush. A body that shoots up to a point; a tapering body; a conical or pyramidal body; specifically, in architecture, the tapering part of a steeple rising above the tower; a steeple; the great pinnacle, often of wood covered with lead, frequently crowning the crossing of the nave in large churches.
  • n. The top or uppermost point of a thing; the summit.
  • n. A winding line like the thread of a screw; anything wreathed or contorted; a coil; a curl; a twist; a wreath; a spiral.
  • n. In conchology, all the whorls of a spiral univalve above the aperture or the body-whorl, taken together as forming a turret.
  • n. In mathematics, a point at which different leaves of a Riemann's surface are connected. Also called a spiral point.
  • n. The male of the red deer, Cervus elaphus, in its third year.

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

  • n. a tall tower that forms the superstructure of a building (usually a church or temple) and that tapers to a point at the top


Middle English, from Old English spīr.
Latin spīra, coil, from Greek speira.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English spīr. Cognate with Dutch spier, German Spier, Spiere, Swedish spira. (Wiktionary)
From Old French spirer, and its source, Latin spīrāre ("to breathe"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle French spire. (Wiktionary)



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