Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Wire


Stranded electrical wire.


From Middle English wir, wyr, from Old English wīr (wire, metal thread, wire-ornament), from Proto-Germanic *wīraz (wire), from Proto-Indo-European *weh₁iros (a twist, thread, cord, wire), from *weh₁y- (to turn, twist, weave, plait).



wire (countable and uncountable, plural wires)

  1. (uncountable) Metal formed into a thin, even thread, now usually by being drawn through a hole in a steel die.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. Those entering it are greeted by wire fences, walls dating back to colonial times and security posts. For mariners leaving the port after lonely nights on the high seas, the delights of the B52 Night Club and Stallion Pub lie a stumble away.
  2. A piece of such material; a thread or slender rod of metal, a cable.
  3. A metal conductor that carries electricity.
  4. A fence made of usually barbed wire.
  5. (sports) A finish line of a racetrack.
  6. (informal) A telecommunication wire or cable
  7. (by extension) An electric telegraph; a telegram.
  8. (slang) A hidden listening device on the person of an undercover operative for the purposes of obtaining incriminating spoken evidence.
  9. (informal) A deadline or critical endpoint.
    This election is going to go right to the wire
  10. (billiards) A wire strung with beads and hung horizontally above or near the table which is used to keep score.
  11. (usually in the plural) Any of the system of wires used to operate the puppets in a puppet show; hence, the network of hidden influences controlling the action of a person or organization; strings.
    to pull the wires for office
  12. (archaic, thieves' slang) A pickpocket who targets women.
  13. (slang) A covert signal sent between people cheating in a card game.
  14. (Scotland) A knitting needle.
  15. The slender shaft of the plumage of certain birds.



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See also[edit]


wire (third-person singular simple present wires, present participle wiring, simple past and past participle wired)

  1. To fasten with wire, especially with reference to wine bottles, corks, or fencing.
    We need to wire that hole in the fence.
    • 1934, Rex Stout, Fer-de-Lance, 1992 Bantam edition, →ISBN, page 222:
      I could see him in his plane flying low over the river or a reservoir, dropping the club out with a chunk of lead wired to the shaft.
  2. To string on a wire.
    wire beads
  3. To equip with wires for use with electricity.
    • 2020 April 8, “Network News: MML still on electrification agenda”, in Rail, page 23:
      Replying on March 20 to a Commons Written Question from Alberto Costa (Conservative, South Leicestershire) about plans to wire to Leicester, Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: "We are currently investing in the biggest upgrade of the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870. [...]
  4. To add something into an electrical system by means of wiring; to incorporate or include something.
    I'll just wire your camera to the computer screen.
  5. To send a message or monetary funds to another person through a telecommunications system, formerly predominantly by telegraph.
    Urgent: please wire me another 100 pounds sterling.
    The detective wired ahead, hoping that the fugitive would be caught at the railway station.
  6. To make someone tense or psyched up.
    I'm never going to sleep: I'm completely wired from all that coffee.
  7. (slang) To install eavesdropping equipment.
    We wired the suspect's house.
  8. To snare by means of a wire or wires.
  9. (transitive, croquet) To place (a ball) so that the wire of a wicket prevents a successful shot.


  • (equip for use with electricity): electrify
  • (informal: send a message or funds by telecommunications): cable, telegraph



  • (to fasten with wire): rewire
  • (equip for use with electricity): rewire

Derived terms[edit]