General English

General Science

  • adjective circling around a central point and constantly increasing or decreasing in size


  • noun something which twists round and round getting higher all the time


  • A continuously wound length of reinforcing steel in the form of a cylindrical helix.


  • A curve which winds around a fixed point while continuously increasing or decreasing its distance from said point.
  • A coil of wire in the shape of a spiral (1).


  • adjective running in a continuous circle upwards


  • noun
    (written as Spiral)
    a Soviet-designed laser-guided anti-tank missile (ATGW)

Origin & History of “spiral”

Spiral comes via French spiral from medieval Latin spīrālis ‘coiled’, a derivative of Latin spīra. this in turn went back to Greek speira ‘coil’. English also acquired the noun, as spire (16th c.), which is used for the ‘tip of a spiral shell’. It is not the same word as the spire of a church (OE), which originally meant ‘stalk, stem’, and may go back ultimately to the base *spī- (source of English spike ‘pointed flower head’ and spine). The spiraea (17th c.) is etymologically the ‘coiled’ plant; and spiraea in turn was used to form the term aspirin.