Meaning of SPIRAL in English

I. spi·ral ˈspīrəl adjective

Etymology: Medieval Latin spiralis, from Latin spira coil + -alis -al — more at spire


a. : winding around a center or pole and gradually receding from or approaching it

a spiral curve


(1) : helical

(2) : of, relating to, or resembling a spiral

2. : having one or more strands twisted around a core yarn

a spiral ply yarn

3. : advancing to succeeding higher levels through a series of cyclical movements

developed a spiral theory of social evolution

II. spiral noun

( -s )


a. : the path of a point in a plane moving around a centered point while continuously receding from or approaching it

b. : a three-dimensional curve (as a helix) with one or more turns about an axis

2. : a single turn or coil in a spiral object


a. : something (as a piece of coiled wire or a winding staircase) having a spiral form

a long blue spiral from his cigar ascended — John Galsworthy

b. : spiral galaxy

c. : a flight in a spiral path : a spiral flight

d. : a kick or pass in which a football rotates on its long axis while moving through the air

e. : a dance movement consisting of concentric circling with steadily diminishing or increasing diameter on a ground level or with rising and falling

f. : a free skating figure consisting of gliding on one foot with speed in a large circle with the body in arabesque position

g. : a synchronized swimming stunt consisting of at least four complete body revolutions executed with the body in a head downward vertical position with the ankles above water followed by complete submergence of the body


(1) : an easement curve (as in a railroad track) in which the change of degree of curve is uniform throughout its length

(2) : a loop built where a railroad line ascends a steep slope for the purpose of gaining distance in order not to exceed the ruling grade

4. : a continuously spreading and accelerating increase or decrease (as in costs, prices, or wages)

a continuance of the upward spiral of prices — F.D.Roosevelt

the vicious spiral of deflation — F.L.Allen

the vicious spiral of arming and counterarming — B.N.Rau

— see inflationary spiral

III. spiral verb

( spiraled or spiralled ; spiraled or spiralled ; spiraling or spiralling ; spirals )

intransitive verb


a. : to go or move and especially to rise or fall in a spiral course : wind in a spiral manner

the path … spiraled up in the hillside — Harlan Hatcher

saw a column of cloud slowly spiral from nothingness — Victor Canning

b. : to follow a spiral path in ascending or descending

our plane spirals down toward the … airdrome — W.L.White

the birds spiraled high — Adria Langley

we spiraled through the … cloud rift and landed — Lowell Thomas

2. : to rise or fall in a continuously spreading and accelerating manner

production spiraled upward

the cost of living spiraled upward

profits spiraled during the business boom

3. : to revolve with a spiral pattern in dancing

transitive verb

1. : to form into a spiral : turn or twist spirally

section foremen … spiraled the ends of their curves — Engineering News

2. : to cause to rise or fall in a continuously spreading and accelerating manner

inflation spiraled prices — Henry Coates

IV. spir·al adjective

Etymology: spire (I) + -al

: rising to a sharp point : tall and tapering or pointed like the spire of a building

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.