Definition of pyramid in English:



  • 1A monumental structure with a square or triangular base and sloping sides that meet in a point at the top, especially one built of stone as a royal tomb in ancient Egypt.

    • ‘How were ancient peoples able to construct monumental Egyptian pyramids in an age devoid of the tools of modern technology?’
    • ‘The overall appearance of this part of the block slightly resembles a stepped pyramid.’
    • ‘There he climbed a pyramid, becoming the one of the first people to climb to the top unaided.’
    • ‘Centuries ago, builders used buckets, barrels, and wheelbarrows to help erect the pyramids.’
    • ‘The ancient Egyptians used the pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and temples for their gods.’
    • ‘No other Egyptian pyramid has such shafts, Hawass said.’
    • ‘Jenny Benet and her archaeologist uncle hunt for a legendary buried pyramid.’
    • ‘You'll also get a full day to explore Tikal, the massive Mayan ceremonial pyramid in nearby Guatemala.’
    • ‘Here I look at some studies that examine the astronomy of the pyramid builders.’
    • ‘I believe that some of the older pyramids in fact were step pyramids.’
    • ‘At the centre of the site is a large stepped pyramid 25m high known as El Castillo.’
    • ‘The Maya erected new pyramids on top of older ones, concealing previous building phases.’
    • ‘However, there are other pyramids of the sun and of the moon throughout Mexico and Yucatan.’
    • ‘Inside he found the undisturbed skeleton of a top pyramid builders' village official.’
    • ‘Also I must disagree with you on Egypt not having any step pyramids.’
    • ‘Garlic reportedly gave strength to the pyramid builders and courage to the Roman legions.’
    • ‘The large stepped pyramids even exceed the size of the pyramids in Egypt for sheer volume of material used.’
    • ‘"We had visited the pyramids and done all the rest of the touristy things, " he said.’
    • ‘Some people even ventured to climb the pyramids to see the view.’
    • ‘He was sitting on top of a step pyramid.’
  • 2An object, shape, or arrangement in the form of a pyramid.

    ‘a pyramid of logs’
    [as modifier] ‘a pyramid roof’
    • ‘The most common type is simply a small truncated concrete pyramid on top of which the wooden post sits.’
    • ‘Her folded hands form the front corner of the pyramid.’
    • ‘The cage is a pyramid of Plexiglas, complete with a swinging door, air holes and a gold garland sash.’
    • ‘But they may retain their status because of this summer's reorganisation of the non-league football pyramid.’
    • ‘A raised pyramid roof and cricket ball-proof windows will offer sweeping views over the parkland.’
    • ‘The metal balcony is propped from the rubble wall, and is an addition to traditional forms, as is the shallow pyramid of the roof.’
    • ‘What we did was build an upside-down pyramid.’
    • ‘Other pictures must be reflected in shiny spheres, mirrored pyramids, or other reflecting shapes to reveal their true identity.’
    • ‘Many feel that the food pyramid isn't dramatically flawed; it's just dangerously vague.’
    • ‘Designed by Georgi Stoilov, it is shaped as an inverted pyramid, each of the six floors protruding above the lower one.’
    • ‘Of course, our leisure rested upon a pyramid of startling inequality and social difference.’
    • ‘A revised food guide pyramid will be released in the spring of 2005.’
    • ‘The book says you can also shape them in little pyramids like French bakeries sometimes do.’
    • ‘Is it time to invert the knowledge pyramid and put experienced doctors back into primary decision making roles?’
    • ‘Similarly, some trainers like to follow a pyramid of lifts with a pump-up set.’
    • ‘She rolled it along quite easily in spite of its pyramid shape.’
    heap, stack, mound, pyramid, mass, quantity, bundle, clump, bunch, jumble
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Geometry A polyhedron of which one face is a polygon of any number of sides, and the other faces are triangles with a common vertex.
      ‘a three-sided pyramid’
      • ‘Such a solid is sometimes called a Heronian tetrahedron or a perfect pyramid.’
      • ‘Volumes of solids such as prisms, pyramids, tetrahedrons, wedges, cylinders and truncated cones are calculated.’
      • ‘The rails that trains run on underground in coal mines are stacked on bogeys in a pyramid shape.’
      • ‘Add one point to form a pyramid.’
      • ‘A hedge trimmed into a reverse pyramid shape will become sparse at the bottom from lack of light.’
    2. 2.2Anatomy A structure of more or less pyramidal form, especially in the brain or the renal medulla.
      • ‘The cortical tissue in the area between the medullary pyramids constitutes the renal columns of Bertin.’
      • ‘Corticospinal and corticobulbar fibers descend in large bundles at this level, destined for the pyramids of the medulla oblongata.’
      • ‘The trigeminal alone had a spinal root which wandered down for a few centimetres past the decussation of the pyramids.’
      • ‘The surgical section covers incision and approaches for septal surgery, together with surgery of the pyramid, globule, turbinates and nasal cavity.’
      turret, minaret, spire, belfry, obelisk, needle, pyramid, cone, finial, shikara, mirador
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3An organization or system that is structured with fewer people or things at each level as one approaches the top.
      ‘the lowest strata of the social pyramid’
      • ‘An intermediate, and much larger, level in the pyramid is crowded with the media.’
      • ‘Is it implied that God is just the highest in a pyramid of arbitrary powers indifferent to justice?’
      • ‘A bottom of the pyramid approach would be more suitable for India.’
      • ‘Each pyramid pod recruits more people at $5,000 for each of the seven spots in the pyramid.’
      • ‘This pyramid empowers camp directors to realize an ever-expanding universe of potential campers.’
      • ‘That demographic pyramid has now turned over on Americans who are middle-aged and younger.’
      • ‘The " pyramid structure " is a top-down authority structure.’
      • ‘The majority of women still work at the lower levels of the economic pyramid.’
      • ‘The social pyramid does not consist of economic building blocks.’
      • ‘The crux of the idea is to invert the welfare pyramid.’
      • ‘When there is enormous economic scarcity on the bottom of the social pyramid, pluralism can undo democracy.’
      • ‘General managers, in addition to business-side duties, sit atop a pyramid of talent scouts.’
      • ‘Drug distribution is organized in a classic pyramid fashion.’
      • ‘Industrialization destroyed the great pyramid of feudal social order.’
      • ‘You are going to have a pyramid of authorities under each minister and director-general.’
      • ‘He will be looking to move up the non-league pyramid.’
      • ‘The speed isn't important, but when the pyramid is 21 levels tall, there will be 4.6 billion people in it.’
      • ‘Achieving the upper levels of the pyramid requires social and political action.’
      • ‘This deficit is designed to enrich those at the very top of the social pyramid while cutting services for those lower down.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the pyramid is level 5, consisting of a case series.’
    4. 2.4A game played on a billiard table with fifteen coloured balls arranged in a triangle and a cue ball.
      • ‘Have you ever played Pyramids? It has to be the hardest of all the cue sports - but it's fabulous.’
      • ‘He used to spend whole days in his billiard room, where he played pyramids indefatigably till his arms and legs ached.’
      • ‘I've never played pyramids in my life.’
  • 3A system of financial growth achieved by a small initial investment, with subsequent investments being funded by using unrealized profits as collateral.

    ‘the eventual collapse of illegal pyramids’
    • ‘So, take a leaf out of Warren's book and use the stock market - not financial pyramid schemes - to make you wealthier.’
    • ‘The regime also convinced citizens to invest in pyramid schemes run by friends of the ruling family.’
    • ‘In other words, the change to the pyramid selling scheme provisions has absolutely no purpose and does absolutely nothing.’
    • ‘If the main inducement to customers is their own future profits, then MLM has become a pyramid system.’
    • ‘It is a pyramid of credit built on a base of credit.’
    • ‘This diversity leads to the beauty of the investment pyramid.’
    • ‘"We've been accused of operating a franchise or running a pyramid scheme.’
    • ‘Is it a revolutionary scheme to slash your phone bill or an elaborate pyramid selling scam?’
    1. 3.1
      short for pyramid scheme


[WITH OBJECT]North American
  • 1Stack or arrange in the shape of a pyramid.

    • ‘What is the " best " way to do the gene pyramiding?’
    • ‘Most of the NFL men are gathered at the finish line, pyramiding with watches outstretched.’
  • 2Achieve a substantial return on (money or property) after making a small initial investment.

    ‘a bank can pyramid modest capital into an enormous sum of money’
    • ‘George answered this by pointing out that taxes pyramid as they go from one stage of production to another.’
    • ‘Speculators can now pyramid in pursuit of higher bond prices.’
    • ‘Worse still, they will buy more, expecting that nice back-wind from the Fed to make pyramiding risk-free.’
    • ‘This allowed them to inflate, to pyramid deposits and loans on a smaller and smaller base of gold.’
    • ‘So they feed their bonds to the central bank and use the proceeds to pyramid in commodities, causing prices to rise.’


Late Middle English (in the geometrical sense): via Latin from Greek puramis, puramid-, of unknown ultimate origin.