Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A top part or structure that tapers upward, such as a rock formation or steeple.
  • noun A slender, tapering plant part.
  • intransitive verb To furnish with a spire.
  • intransitive verb To rise and taper steeply.
  • noun A spiral.
  • noun A single turn of a spiral; a whorl.
  • noun The area farthest from the aperture and nearest the apex on a coiled gastropod shell.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A sprout or shoot of a plant.
  • noun A stalk of grass or some similar plant; a spear.
  • noun The continuation of the trunk in a more or less excurrent tree above the point where branching begins.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The top or uppermost point of a thing; the summit.
  • To breathe.
  • noun The male of the red deer, Cervus elaphus, in its third year.
  • A Middle English form of speer.
  • To sprout, as grain in malting.
  • To shoot; shoot up sharply.
  • To shoot or send forth.
  • To furnish with a spire or spires.
  • noun A winding line like the thread of a screw; anything wreathed or contorted; a coil; a curl; a twist; a wreath; a spiral.
  • noun In conchology, all the whorls of a spiral univalve above the aperture or the body-whorl, taken together as forming a turret.
  • noun In mathematics, a point at which different leaves of a Riemann's surface are connected. Also called a spiral point.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To breathe.
  • intransitive verb To shoot forth, or up in, or as if in, a spire.
  • noun A slender stalk or blade in vegetation.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Mining) A tube or fuse for communicating fire to the chargen in blasting.
  • noun The top, or uppermost point, of anything; the summit.
  • noun A spiral; a curl; a whorl; a twist.
  • noun (Geom.) The part of a spiral generated in one revolution of the straight line about the pole. See Spiral, n.
  • noun (Paleon.) Same as Spirifer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English spīr.]

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

[Latin spīra, coil, from Greek speira.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French spirer, and its source, Latin spīrāre ("to breathe").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French spire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English spīr. Cognate with Dutch spier, German Spier, Spiere, Swedish spira.

Examples

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