Definition of pyramid in English:

pyramid

noun

  • 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.

    Pyramids were built as tombs for Egyptian pharaohs from the 3rd dynasty (c.2649 BC) until c.1640 BC. The early step pyramid, with several levels and a flat top, developed into the true pyramid, such as the three largest at Giza near Cairo (the Pyramids, including the Great Pyramid of Cheops) which were one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Monuments of similar shape are associated with the Aztec and Maya civilizations of around 1200 BC–AD 750, and, like those in Egypt, were part of large ritual complexes

    • ‘The Maya erected new pyramids on top of older ones, concealing previous building phases.’
    • ‘Some people even ventured to climb the pyramids to see the view.’
    • ‘He was sitting on top of a step pyramid.’
    • ‘"We had visited the pyramids and done all the rest of the touristy things, " he said.’
    • ‘How were ancient peoples able to construct monumental Egyptian pyramids in an age devoid of the tools of modern technology?’
    • ‘The large stepped pyramids even exceed the size of the pyramids in Egypt for sheer volume of material used.’
    • ‘Centuries ago, builders used buckets, barrels, and wheelbarrows to help erect the pyramids.’
    • ‘At the centre of the site is a large stepped pyramid 25m high known as El Castillo.’
    • ‘The overall appearance of this part of the block slightly resembles a stepped pyramid.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Here I look at some studies that examine the astronomy of the pyramid builders.’
    • ‘The ancient Egyptians used the pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and temples for their gods.’
    • ‘You'll also get a full day to explore Tikal, the massive Mayan ceremonial pyramid in nearby Guatemala.’
    • ‘Garlic reportedly gave strength to the pyramid builders and courage to the Roman legions.’
    • ‘Jenny Benet and her archaeologist uncle hunt for a legendary buried pyramid.’
    • ‘There he climbed a pyramid, becoming the one of the first people to climb to the top unaided.’
    • ‘I believe that some of the older pyramids in fact were step pyramids.’
    • ‘No other Egyptian pyramid has such shafts, Hawass said.’
  • 2An object, shape, or arrangement in the form of a pyramid.

    ‘a pyramid of logs’
    as modifier ‘a pyramid roof’
    • ‘Many feel that the food pyramid isn't dramatically flawed; it's just dangerously vague.’
    • ‘Her folded hands form the front corner of the pyramid.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘The cage is a pyramid of Plexiglas, complete with a swinging door, air holes and a gold garland sash.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What we did was build an upside-down pyramid.’
    • ‘She rolled it along quite easily in spite of its pyramid shape.’
    • ‘But they may retain their status because of this summer's reorganisation of the non-league football pyramid.’
    • ‘The metal balcony is propped from the rubble wall, and is an addition to traditional forms, as is the shallow pyramid of the roof.’
    • ‘A revised food guide pyramid will be released in the spring of 2005.’
    • ‘Other pictures must be reflected in shiny spheres, mirrored pyramids, or other reflecting shapes to reveal their true identity.’
    • ‘The most common type is simply a small truncated concrete pyramid on top of which the wooden post sits.’
    • ‘A raised pyramid roof and cricket ball-proof windows will offer sweeping views over the parkland.’
    • ‘Similarly, some trainers like to follow a pyramid of lifts with a pump-up set.’
    heap, stack, mound, 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.’
      • ‘A hedge trimmed into a reverse pyramid shape will become sparse at the bottom from lack of light.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2Anatomy A structure of more or less pyramidal form, especially in the brain or the renal medulla.
      • ‘The surgical section covers incision and approaches for septal surgery, together with surgery of the pyramid, globule, turbinates and nasal cavity.’
      • ‘The cortical tissue in the area between the medullary pyramids constitutes the renal columns of Bertin.’
      • ‘The trigeminal alone had a spinal root which wandered down for a few centimetres past the decussation of the pyramids.’
      • ‘Corticospinal and corticobulbar fibers descend in large bundles at this level, destined for the pyramids of the medulla oblongata.’
      turret, minaret, spire, belfry, obelisk, needle, cone, finial, shikara, mirador
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 An 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’
      • ‘When there is enormous economic scarcity on the bottom of the social pyramid, pluralism can undo democracy.’
      • ‘Is it implied that God is just the highest in a pyramid of arbitrary powers indifferent to justice?’
      • ‘An intermediate, and much larger, level in the pyramid is crowded with the media.’
      • ‘A bottom of the pyramid approach would be more suitable for India.’
      • ‘The majority of women still work at the lower levels of the economic pyramid.’
      • ‘Industrialization destroyed the great pyramid of feudal social order.’
      • ‘This pyramid empowers camp directors to realize an ever-expanding universe of potential campers.’
      • ‘This deficit is designed to enrich those at the very top of the social pyramid while cutting services for those lower down.’
      • ‘The social pyramid does not consist of economic building blocks.’
      • ‘Drug distribution is organized in a classic pyramid fashion.’
      • ‘General managers, in addition to business-side duties, sit atop a pyramid of talent scouts.’
      • ‘The " pyramid structure " is a top-down authority structure.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You are going to have a pyramid of authorities under each minister and director-general.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the pyramid is level 5, consisting of a case series.’
      • ‘Achieving the upper levels of the pyramid requires social and political action.’
      • ‘That demographic pyramid has now turned over on Americans who are middle-aged and younger.’
      • ‘The crux of the idea is to invert the welfare pyramid.’
      • ‘Each pyramid pod recruits more people at $5,000 for each of the seven spots in the pyramid.’
    4. 2.4pyramids A game played on a billiard table with fifteen coloured balls arranged in a triangle and a cue ball.
      • ‘I've never played pyramids in my life.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
    • ‘The regime also convinced citizens to invest in pyramid schemes run by friends of the ruling family.’
    • ‘If the main inducement to customers is their own future profits, then MLM has become a pyramid system.’
    • ‘Is it a revolutionary scheme to slash your phone bill or an elaborate pyramid selling scam?’
    • ‘It is a pyramid of credit built on a base of credit.’
    • ‘In other words, the change to the pyramid selling scheme provisions has absolutely no purpose and does absolutely nothing.’
    • ‘So, take a leaf out of Warren's book and use the stock market - not financial pyramid schemes - to make you wealthier.’
    • ‘"We've been accused of operating a franchise or running a pyramid scheme.’
    • ‘This diversity leads to the beauty of the investment pyramid.’
    1. 3.1
      short for pyramid scheme

verb

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

    • ‘Most of the NFL men are gathered at the finish line, pyramiding with watches outstretched.’
    • ‘What is the " best " way to do the gene pyramiding?’
  • 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’
    • ‘Speculators can now pyramid in pursuit of higher bond prices.’
    • ‘George answered this by pointing out that taxes pyramid as they go from one stage of production to another.’
    • ‘So they feed their bonds to the central bank and use the proceeds to pyramid in commodities, causing prices to rise.’
    • ‘This allowed them to inflate, to pyramid deposits and loans on a smaller and smaller base of gold.’
    • ‘Worse still, they will buy more, expecting that nice back-wind from the Fed to make pyramiding risk-free.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pyramid

/ˈpɪrəmɪd/