- See under spiral(def 7).
- Geometry. a plane curve generated by a point moving around a fixed point while constantly receding from or approaching it.
- a helix.
- a single circle or ring of a spiral or helical curve or object.
- a spiral or helical object, formation, or form.
- Aeronautics. a maneuver in which an airplane descends in a helix of small pitch and large radius, with the angle of attack within that of the normal flight range.
- Football. a type of kick or pass in which the ball turns on its longer axis as it flies through the air.
- Economics. a continuous increase in costs, wages, prices, etc. (inflationary spiral), or a decrease in costs, wages, prices, etc. (deflationary spiral).
- running continuously around a fixed point or center while constantly receding from or approaching it; coiling in a single plane: a spiral curve.
- coiling around a fixed line or axis in a constantly changing series of planes; helical.
- of or of the nature of a spire or coil.
- bound with a spiral binding; spiral-bound: a spiral notebook.
verb (used without object), spi·raled, spi·ral·ing or (especially British) spi·ralled, spi·ral·ling.
- to take a spiral form or course.
- to advance or increase steadily; rise: Costs have been spiraling all year.
- Aeronautics. to fly an airplane through a spiral course.
verb (used with object), spi·raled, spi·ral·ing or (especially British) spi·ralled, spi·ral·ling.
- to cause to take a spiral form or course.
- the situation in which price and income increases may each induce further rises in the other
- geometry one of several plane curves formed by a point winding about a fixed point at an ever-increasing distance from it. Polar equation of Archimedes spiral: r = a θ; of logarithmic spiral: log r = a θ; of hyperbolic spiral: r θ = a, (where a is a constant)
- another name for helix (def. 1)
- something that pursues a winding, usually upward, course or that displays a twisting form or shape
- a flight manoeuvre in which an aircraft descends describing a helix of comparatively large radius with the angle of attack within the normal flight rangeCompare spin (def. 16)
- economics a continuous upward or downward movement in economic activity or prices, caused by interaction between prices, wages, demand, and production
- having the shape of a spiral
verb -rals, -ralling or -ralled or US -rals, -raling or -raled
- to assume or cause to assume a spiral course or shape
- (intr) to increase or decrease with steady accelerationwages and prices continue to spiral
1550s, from Middle French spiral, from Medieval Latin spiralis “winding, coiling” (mid-13c.), from Latin spira “coil,” from Greek speira “coil, twist, wreath,” from PIE *sper- “to turn, twist.” Spiral galaxy first attested 1913.
1726 (implied in spiraled), from spiral (n.). Transferred and figurative sense by 1922. Related: Spiraling.
1650s, from spiral (adj.). U.S. football sense is from 1896.
- Coiling or developing around an axis in a constantly changing series of planes; helical.
- A structure in the shape of a coil.
- To take the form or course of a spiral.