Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb spiral pronunciation in American English /ˈspaɪrəl/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlespiraling or spiralling
past tensespiraled or spiralled
past participlespiraled or spiralled
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to move in the shape of a spiral, or to make something do this

    The doctor spiraled the bandage up my arm.

    Smoke was spiraling from the burning building.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to continuously become worse, more, or less

    Her fears began to spiral again.

    spiral into:

    The economic crisis could spiral into a political disaster.

    spiral out of control:

    Crime has begun to spiral out of control in the capital.

    spiral up/upward/down/downward:

    The news sent stock prices spiraling down to a five-year low.

derived word


 spiral pronunciation in American English  adjective

spiraling wages and costs

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog