Main definitions of spike in English

: spike1spike2

spike1

noun

  • 1A thin, pointed piece of metal, wood, or another rigid material.

    • ‘Splinters and jagged spikes of wood lanced into the air, and a faint coat of dust had comfortably settled over the wreckage.’
    • ‘I polished my axe and the spike on the shield, put on my armor and went out of the tent.’
    • ‘Most of the spikes were still not hammered down properly.’
    • ‘Gradually, the glowing red material is hammered into an elegant spike.’
    • ‘Safe helmets will never feature spikes or other protruding decorations.’
    • ‘At present the policy is still to remove nests and eggs and provide residents with nets and spikes to stop the birds settling on houses in problem areas.’
    • ‘A trainee doctor was admitted to the hospital where he works after impaling his leg on a metal spike.’
    • ‘He reached out his arm and felt a large spike protruding from a hard, scaled surface.’
    • ‘It is more than two metres high and made of bare metal with spikes across the top.’
    • ‘I nearly died when I was 13 after I got impaled on a metal spike.’
    • ‘He was too scared to speak or move and began to shake uncontrollably as he was placed under the sharp spike.’
    • ‘Police tried putting down spikes in front of the car; the driver managed to elude them and got away.’
    • ‘Extra strong paint formulas, and wooden fences supported by metal spikes extended the life of exterior fittings in tough New England weather.’
    • ‘Mavale was about to spin around when he felt a cold spike of metal feel its way through his thin hair.’
    • ‘The spikes dug into the thin material of the bags, and dirt began to leak out.’
    • ‘A tall, impenetrable wall with barbed wire and sharp metal spikes on top surrounded the entire complex.’
    • ‘In one case at Wakefield, a youth dangled a piece of concrete with spikes in it from a bridge.’
    • ‘Dozens of sharp, wooden spikes shot up from the floor below.’
    • ‘This lead to the elaboration of putting metal spikes on the ball that would be able to puncture the armor and cause injury to the opponent.’
    • ‘Above Nick, just over his forehead, there was a crescent shaped piece of metal with thousands of tiny spikes.’
    thorn, spine, prickle, bristle
    prong, barb, point, skewer, stake, spit, projection
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A large stout nail, especially one used to fasten a rail to a railway sleeper.
      • ‘They were taking railroad spikes off a train trestle.’
      • ‘A chain is draped around the rim, and inside the container is a skull, a knife, railway spikes, and a lungoa.’
      • ‘He crawled over, among the power tools and nails and spikes and dangerous edges, and slid the bolt across.’
      • ‘Ibis knocked at another door, this one tall and fashioned of long, thin planks bolted with iron spikes.’
      • ‘An increasingly effective Union blockade reduced the availability of ships' machinery and even such items as nails and spikes.’
      • ‘Nowadays, we tend to celebrate those who can take a rusty rail spike to the forearm and come up smiling.’
    2. 1.2 Each of several metal points set into the sole of a running shoe to prevent slipping.
      • ‘Athletes must have running shorts, spikes are not allowed in running shoes and of course bring suitable gear for the weather.’
    3. 1.3spikes A pair of running shoes with metal points set into the sole.
      • ‘To compensate 16-year-old Lewis for the injuries he sustained, Puma UK have offered him a free pair of Olympic spikes which are not yet available in the shops.’
      • ‘He points to a pair of spikes on the computer graphic.’
      • ‘Declan Byrne hung up his spikes, singlet and shorts in exchange for a black tie outfit as he was selected as an escort to the Limerick Rose in the 2003 Tralee contest.’
      • ‘He had spoken of being inspired by Sheffield's John and Sheila Sherwood winning medals in the Mexico Olympics, of joining their club and of being given his first pair of spikes by Sheila.’
    4. 1.4British A pointed metal rod standing on a base and used for filing paper items such as bills, or journalistic material considered for publication and rejected.
    5. 1.5informal A hypodermic needle.
      • ‘Frontline crews working for Essex ambulance service are to be issued with body armour to protect them from hand guns, knives and spikes including hypodermic needles and even stiletto heels.’
  • 2A sharp increase in the magnitude or concentration of something:

    ‘the oil price spike’
    • ‘These temporary spikes could make it seem like you don't have your blood pressure under control when you actually do.’
    • ‘I think you're seeing something akin to what we saw in the 1970s when we had a similar kind of sharp spike in oil prices.’
    • ‘Following the spike, the energy level rapidly decreases and reaches a low point barely 2 hours after eating.’
    • ‘The sharp spike in enrollment has somewhat tapered off, however.’
    • ‘Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 20 years, a significant spike in a relatively short time, he says.’
    • ‘We are currently getting an enormous boost from increased military spending, tax cuts and a temporary spike in mortgage activity for new homes and refinancing.’
    • ‘The recent spike in oil prices seems to have ended as increased production has boosted supplies.’
    • ‘He thought the highs and lows of the business cycle would be far more extreme and short-lived than in the past, with sharp spikes up and down.’
    • ‘These have now been replenished to some degree, which in part explains the recent spike in base metal prices.’
    • ‘There was no way to simulate a spike of that magnitude.’
    • ‘That spike is followed by a corresponding crash caused by a flood of insulin, a hormone that clears sugar out of the blood and into the body's cells to be used for fuel.’
    • ‘The chokepoint is patrolled 24 hours a day by armed guards, resulting in lower local crime but a sharp spike in vehicle traffic.’
    • ‘And a sharp spike in interest rates would hurt some homeowners who have just got their foot on the housing ladder.’
    • ‘When only promotions are used, a brand experiences a short-term spike in sales, followed by a steady decline until sales return to relative equilibrium and normal purchase cycles resume.’
    • ‘A spike in oil prices would have a devastating effect.’
    • ‘Murray commented on building material prices, especially regarding sharp spikes in the prices of steel, wood, and gypsum.’
    • ‘The strain on the world supply system has left it more vulnerable to supply disruptions and increased the likelihood of price spikes.’
    • ‘This caused significant spikes in short term production but reduced the total amount of oil that could be recovered from the reservoir.’
    • ‘Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause a spike in your blood pressure.’
    • ‘First, all sales and excise taxes feed directly into official consumer price indexes, so such increases create a sharp inflation spike.’
    1. 2.1Electronics A pulse of very short duration in which a rapid increase in voltage is followed by a rapid decrease.
      • ‘Sometimes, a mere shut down of power or an electrical surge that emits a strong voltage spike can even destroy highly sophisticated RAID storage systems.’
      • ‘If one were to have a voltage spike, the consequences could be disastrous.’
      • ‘Not only can a low-quality power supply cause instability, it can cause damage to components over time, namely hard drives, which can be killed by a severe voltage spike.’
      • ‘The power has gone out and even when it's on there appear to be beefy dips and surges on the line - so large in fact that one particular voltage spike took out my TV in an impressive cloud of smoke.’
      • ‘Voltage surges and spikes occur for a number of reasons.’
  • 3British informal A hostel ward offering temporary accommodation for the homeless:

    ‘he queued at the soup kitchen or the spike’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Impale on or pierce with a sharp point:

    ‘she spiked another oyster’
    • ‘I'm sometimes asked if I'd be frightened of walking through a jungle and being spiked by a thorn.’
    • ‘She quickly stomped it, cursing it for spiking her.’
    • ‘Each step was like a thorn spiking Mitch in the side.’
    • ‘And, if you're illuminating things away from the house, like your trees, get some outdoor floodlight holders that you can spike right into the ground.’
    • ‘We do not have to spike the trees, carry protest signs, or write angry letters to our representatives.’
    • ‘Make a note of such spots and on a dry day go out with a garden fork and spike the areas by pushing into the lawn to a depth of about 15 cm and rocking gently back and forth before pulling out the fork.’
    • ‘If, like mine, your lawn has soggy, poorly draining patches, spike it with a garden fork at six inch intervals.’
    impale, spear, skewer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Baseball Injure (a player) with the spikes on one's shoes.
    2. 1.2 (of a newspaper editor) reject (a story) by or as if by filing it on a spike:
      ‘the editors deemed the article in bad taste and spiked it’
      • ‘Its editors only goofed in spiking the Augusta columns.’
      • ‘And they spiked the story by their top investigative reporter, so they didn't get sued because they simply killed the story before birth.’
      • ‘During a radio interview, Mr Waters said the newspaper spiked his column on the grounds the article was libellous and inaccurate.’
      • ‘Newsweek spiked the story a few years ago when they had it.’
      • ‘Was the decision to spike Sherman's story journalistic, political, or merely financial?’
      • ‘In the event, the Guardian spiked my article for unrelated reasons.’
      • ‘A leaked internal document shows that this is not the first time that Myers has had articles spiked by the editor.’
      • ‘But the attorney adds that spiking the story may not entirely solve the problem.’
      • ‘Earlier this month there was a row over the Irish Independent spiking a story about Dunnes Stores.’
    3. 1.3 Stop the progress of (a plan or undertaking); put an end to:
      ‘he doubted they would spike the entire effort over this one negotiation’
      • ‘Amid reports that the Department of Justice may spike the proposed merger, it is set to name two veterans to head its marketing forces.’
      • ‘in June Blair reportedly spiked the idea of introducing ID cards - but they're back.’
      put a stop to, put an end to, put the lid on, scupper, scotch, derail
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4historical Render (a gun) useless by plugging up the vent with a spike.
  • 2Form into or cover with sharp points:

    ‘his hair was matted and spiked with blood’
    • ‘She stopped spiking his hair, and her smile faded.’
    • ‘She applied the gel to his hair, and began spiking it.’
    • ‘The walls of the forecourt are spiked with broken glass.’
    • ‘His hair was dark blond like mine, but he kept his in a short style and sometimes spiked it up.’
    • ‘He'd spiked his hair, probably according to his own taste.’
    • ‘‘Yeah, I'll be fine,’ I said spiking my dark thick hair up like normal.’
    1. 2.1[no object] Take on a sharp, pointed shape:
      ‘lightning spiked across the sky’
      • ‘‘Edge,’ he said softly as lightning spiked out of the sky and the thunder followed angrily after.’
      • ‘The country is mostly flat and quietly beautiful, spiked with royal palms.’
      • ‘With a thin hilt and a curved bend, three sharp prongs spiked out nastily and gleamed in the room's bright light.’
      • ‘Stalactites protrude from the ceiling, and stalagmites spike up from the floor.’
    2. 2.2[no object] Increase and then decrease sharply; reach a peak:
      ‘oil prices would spike and fall again’
      • ‘Most people think about energy only when gas prices spike or when heating oil is in short supply.’
      • ‘As the day wears on and temperatures spike, perspiration and oil create a sticky film, taking ‘dewy’ to an unflattering extreme.’
      • ‘If oil prices spike upwards and inflation rises, interest rates will go up too.’
      • ‘They can make your blood sugar quickly spike up and then sharply drop, causing your mood to follow suit.’
      • ‘Energy and commodity prices have spiked and there is a general inflationary bias throughout the commodities markets.’
      • ‘The U.S. imports nearly all of its coffee, and those prices periodically spike and have climbed steadily.’
      • ‘And with the summer holiday season coming on, prices could spike even further.’
      • ‘Well, crude oil prices are spiking as the hurricane batters oil production facilities in and around the Gulf of Mexico.’
      • ‘Gas prices just spiked up this week and so did home heating oil.’
      • ‘Prices spiked, with few policies available (marketplace illiquidity).’
      • ‘Experts say, while it's unusual for prices to spike this early in the year, fuel refineries processing less oil is creating more problems.’
      • ‘The price might initially spike up, but analysts predict it won't last long.’
      • ‘And fears that gasoline prices would spike nationally proved unfounded.’
      • ‘And just this week, it was announced that supplies are dwindling and prices are expected to spike as weather warms.’
      • ‘Sooner or later, it's likely that a bad harvest will occur and wheat prices will spike.’
      • ‘Statistics showed crime falling citywide but spiking in Watuppa Heights.’
      • ‘The price of crude is more than 50 per cent higher than a year ago and has spiked by almost 30 per cent in the past six weeks.’
      • ‘Its voracious demand for raw materials has caused prices to spike.’
      • ‘Well, oil prices spiked to a record high today as Hurricane Dennis approaches.’
      • ‘There's no way to pick and choose which gets cut off when demand surges, prices spike, and supply gets tight.’
  • 3informal Add alcohol or a drug to contaminate (drink or food) surreptitiously:

    ‘she bought me an orange juice and spiked it with vodka’
    • ‘The lawyer of a New Jersey woman accused of killing her brother-in-law and spiking his drink with antifreeze says that she's confessed.’
    • ‘I bet she spiked Daniel's drink and he was forced to accept responsibility.’
    • ‘Howden said he drank five litres of cider, lager and beer and thought someone had spiked his drink with Ecstasy.’
    • ‘While out students should make sure they don't drink excessively and also be on their guard for drinks being spiked.’
    • ‘We have got the posters and cards up everywhere, and my staff will be slipping drink hangers into unattended drinks to show just how easy it is to spike a drink.’
    • ‘‘Our experience is that in most cases where people say their drinks were spiked, it is simply that they have drunk too much’.’
    • ‘They insist that his drink was spiked or that he drank from the wrong glass.’
    • ‘Date rape drugs are used to spike victims' drinks, causing memory loss so they are vulnerable to sex attacks.’
    • ‘His family is adamant that his drink was spiked.’
    • ‘Painter and decorator Geoffrey Jenks was so shocked when he failed a roadside breath test, he felt his Cokes must have been spiked, Kennet magistrates in Devizes heard on Tuesday.’
    • ‘Or rather, if he was going to do it, I believe he'd have just spiked his own food or drink.’
    • ‘They can use it to spike the drinks of their victims, leaving them disorientated and eventually rendering them unconscious and unable to remember past events.’
    • ‘Alcohol is still the most common substance used to spike drinks, but spiking with drugs is on the increase.’
    • ‘He believes his drink was spiked when he left his plastic cup on the bar to go to the toilet.’
    • ‘What if someone spikes my drink at the next party?’
    • ‘His friends spiked his drink, thinking they're funny.’
    • ‘She had insisted on all of them bringing their own water bottles, certain that the geniuses over in the football team would spike the punch.’
    • ‘Driven by envy, his eldest brother spiked his drink with poison.’
    • ‘He didn't know that the drinks were previously spiked.’
    • ‘Also, if you don't know your date well take your drink with you when you go to the toilets; with so many drinks being spiked in bars these days it's better to be safe than sorry.’
    adulterate, contaminate, drug
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Add sharp or pungent flavouring to (food or drink):
      ‘spike the liquid with lime or lemon juice’
      • ‘Olive oil spiked with fresh chilli sits on the counter.’
    2. 3.2 Enrich (a nuclear reactor or its fuel) with a particular isotope:
      ‘the plutonium mixture could be spiked with caesium-137’
  • 4(in volleyball) hit (the ball) forcefully from a position near the net so that it moves downward into the opposite court.

    • ‘In sports, the front raise is an integral part of throwing a softball, pulling upward while doing the back-stroke or spiking a volleyball.’
    • ‘The girl in the black bikini served the ball high and Brett moved in front of Emily to spike the ball over the net.’
    • ‘Despite this being a busy week in games and practices, fans were still out to see the volleyball women doing their stuff as they spiked the ball in for the win.’
    • ‘I took the volleyball from him, raised it above my head and spiked it over the net.’
    • ‘Whether or not you can spike a mean volleyball, there is a lot to be said for being tall.’
    1. 4.1American Football Fling (the ball) forcefully to the ground, typically in celebration of a touchdown or victory.
      • ‘Jordan then spiked a ball which bounced off the ground and hit Collier, so he stopped.’
      • ‘As he crosses the plane of the goal line, Harper plants his right foot, spins 27 degrees, and spikes the ball into the face of line judge Mike Durner.’

Phrases

  • spike someone's guns

    • Thwart someone's plans.

      • ‘Although it has been known for years that John Cairncross passed on top-secret information during the war, only the Soviets knew the details of how he helped to spike Hitler 's guns.’
      • ‘‘If we don't make our point now, rest assured the Employers' Federation and Business Roundtable will, and they will be trying to spike our guns ’, he was reported as saying.’
      • ‘But Weatherson, in his hero's role, spiked their guns as early as the eighth minute by putting his side ahead.’
      • ‘‘That alone’, noted Houdini afterward, ‘spiked my guns.’’

Origin

Middle English: perhaps from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch spiker, related to spoke. The verb dates from the early 17th century.

Pronunciation

spike

/spʌɪk/

Main definitions of spike in English

: spike1spike2

spike2

noun

Botany
  • A flower cluster formed of many flower heads attached directly to a long stem.

    Compare with cyme, raceme
    • ‘Further, like practically all perennials, Delphinium clamps gradually develop more numerous spikes and smaller flowers.’
    • ‘The flower spikes elongate up to a foot or more over a period of weeks.’
    • ‘If Cymbidium Orchids are congested with back bulbs, remove old flower spikes and divide and re-pot in good quality Cymbidium mix.’
    • ‘To get the most enjoyment from flower spikes, pick when the first florets are beginning to open.’
    • ‘This lovely evergreen sports dense foliage bearing spikes of dark red flower buds during late autumn.’

Origin

Late Middle English (denoting an ear of corn): from Latin spica (see spica).

Pronunciation

spike

/spʌɪk/