Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “spiral”

See all translations

spiral

noun [C] uk   /ˈspaɪə.rəl/ us    /ˈspaɪr.əl/
a shape made up of curves, each one above or wider than the one before: A corkscrew is spiral-shaped.downward spiral C2 a situation in which a price, etc. becomes lower, or a situation gets worse and is difficult to control because one bad event causes another: This year's downward spiral of house prices has depressed the market. We must avoid the downward spiral in which unemployment leads to homelessness and then to crime.
More examples

spiral

verb [I usually + adv/prep] uk   /ˈspaɪə.rəl/ us    /ˈspaɪr.əl/ (-ll- or US usually -l-)
to move in a spiral: With one wing damaged, the model airplane spiralled downwards. If costs, prices, etc. spiral, they increase faster and faster: Spiralling costs have squeezed profits.spiral downwards (of prices, etc.) to get less, at a faster and faster rate

spiral

adjective [before noun] uk   /ˈspaɪə.rəl/ us    /ˈspaɪr.əl/
shaped in a series of curves, each one above or wider than the one before: a spiral staircase a spiral galaxy
Translations of “spiral”
in Korean 나선형…
in Arabic حَلَزون…
in French en spirale…
in Turkish sarmal, spiral, helezon…
in Italian spirale…
in Chinese (Traditional) 螺旋形…
in Russian спираль…
in Polish spirala…
in Spanish espiral, en espiral…
in Portuguese espiral…
in German gewunden, Wendel-…, Spiral-……
in Catalan espiral…
in Japanese らせん, 渦巻き…
in Chinese (Simplified) 螺旋形…
(Definition of spiral from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of spiral?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “spiral” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

sail

When a boat or a ship sails, it travels on the water.

Word of the Day

Byronic, Orwellian and Darwinian: adjectives from names.

by Liz Walter,
April 15, 2015
Becoming an adjective is a strange kind of memorial, but it is often a sign of a person having had real influence on the world. Science is full of examples, from Hippocrates, the Greek medic born around 460 BC, who gave his name to the Hippocratic Oath still used by doctors today,

Read More 

dumbwalking noun

April 20, 2015
walking slowly, without paying attention to the world around you because you are consulting a smartphone He told me dumbwalking probably wouldn’t be a long-term problem.

Read More