Meaning of “wire” in the English Dictionary

"wire" in British English

See all translations

wirenoun

uk /waɪər/ us /waɪr/

wire noun (METAL THREAD)

B2 [ C or U ] a piece of thin metal thread that can be bent, used for fastening things and for making particular types of objects that are strong but can bend:

a wire fence

B2 [ C ] (a piece of) thin metal thread with a layer of plastic around it, used for carrying electric current:

Someone had cut the phone wires.
Don't touch those wires whatever you do.

US a secret recording device hidden worn by a person, especially one that is hidden in their clothes:

The undercover police officer was wearing a wire during the meeting.
the wire

UK the wire fence around a prison or prison camp:

During the war he spent three years behind the wire (= in prison).

More examples

  • A wire has come loose at the back.
  • The cable has a copper wire surrounded by a plastic sheath.
  • The filaments of light bulbs are made from tungsten wire.
  • Loose electric wires were dangling from the wall.
  • Drill a hole through the back of the cupboard and pass the wires through.

wire noun (MESSAGE)

[ C ] US informal a telegram

wireverb [ T ]

uk /waɪər/ us /waɪr/

wire verb [ T ] (METAL THREAD)

to fasten two things together using wire:

She had her jaws wired together so that she wouldn't be able to eat.

also wire up to connect a piece of electrical equipment with wires so that it will work:

The stereo wasn't working because it hadn't been wired up correctly.
Nearly one home in ten across the country is wired up to receive TV via cable.

wire verb [ T ] (SEND MESSAGE)

to send money using an electrical communication system:

The insurance company wired millions of dollars to its accounts to cover the payments.
[ + two objects ] Luckily my father wired me two hundred bucks.

mainly US in the past, to send someone a telegram:

Janet wired me to say she'd be here a day later than planned.

(Definition of “wire” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"wire" in American English

See all translations

wirenoun

us /wɑɪər/

wire noun (METAL THREAD)

[ C/U ] thin metal that can be bent, used in a stiff form in fences and in a form more easily shaped for fastening things or for carrying electric currents:

[ U ] There was a six-foot high wire fence around the playground.

wire noun (SEND MESSAGE)

[ C ] dated a telegram

wireverb [ T ]

us /wɑɪər/

wire verb [ T ] (SEND MESSAGE)

dated to send a message or money by telegraph:

My father wired me $300.

wire verb [ T ] (METAL THREAD)

to connect or fasten by wire:

Our building is wired for cable TV.

A person or place that is wired is secretly equipped with an electric device that records sounds such as conversations:

Wired by the FBI, he began recording meetings with Chicago officials.

(Definition of “wire” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"wire" in Business English

See all translations

wirenoun

uk /waɪər/ us

[ C or U ] PRODUCTION a piece of long thin metal that can be bent or used to hold things together:

Thin strands of copper wire are wrapped around the connection and soldered.

[ C or U ] COMMUNICATIONS a piece of long thin metal that can carry signals or electricity:

The wires had been cut, leaving the building in darkness.

[ U ] US BANKING, COMMUNICATIONS an electronic system for sending money from one bank account to another:

by wire Amounts over $1,000 can be transferred to your bank account by wire or by check.

[ C ] COMMUNICATIONS a piece of electronic equipment that someone wears so that other people can secretly listen to their conversation, especially when trying to trick someone:

He agreed to wear a wire to the meeting as part of the FBI investigation.
down to the wire

if something is down to the wire, it is not clear or decided until the last possible moment:

go/come down to the wire It was likely the leadership contest would go down to the wire.
Contract negotiations with two unions that represent more than 100,000 employees are expected to go right down to the wire.
get your wires crossed informal

if people get their wires crossed, they have a different understanding of the same situation:

We must have got our wires crossed, because I thought the meeting was next week.

wireverb [ T ]

uk /waɪər/ us

US BANKING, COMMUNICATIONS to send money from one bank account to another using an electronic system:

The insurance company wired the payment directly to our account.

US COMMUNICATIONS in the past, to send someone a telegram (= message sent over electrical wires and printed out)

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “wire” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)