Definition of pyramid in US 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. Monuments of similar shape are associated with the Maya and Aztec civilizations of c.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.’
    • ‘You'll also get a full day to explore Tikal, the massive Mayan ceremonial pyramid in nearby Guatemala.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jenny Benet and her archaeologist uncle hunt for a legendary buried pyramid.’
    • ‘Here I look at some studies that examine the astronomy of the pyramid builders.’
    • ‘The overall appearance of this part of the block slightly resembles a stepped pyramid.’
    • ‘Garlic reportedly gave strength to the pyramid builders and courage to the Roman legions.’
    • ‘Some people even ventured to climb the pyramids to see the view.’
    • ‘The large stepped pyramids even exceed the size of the pyramids in Egypt for sheer volume of material used.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was sitting on top of a step pyramid.’
    • ‘How were ancient peoples able to construct monumental Egyptian pyramids in an age devoid of the tools of modern technology?’
    • ‘Inside he found the undisturbed skeleton of a top pyramid builders' village official.’
    • ‘No other Egyptian pyramid has such shafts, Hawass said.’
    • ‘However, there are other pyramids of the sun and of the moon throughout Mexico and Yucatan.’
    • ‘Also I must disagree with you on Egypt not having any step pyramids.’
    • ‘"We had visited the pyramids and done all the rest of the touristy things, " he said.’
    • ‘The ancient Egyptians used the pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and temples for their gods.’
  • 2An object, shape, or arrangement in the form of a pyramid.

    ‘a pyramid of logs’
    • ‘The book says you can also shape them in little pyramids like French bakeries sometimes do.’
    • ‘A raised pyramid roof and cricket ball-proof windows will offer sweeping views over the parkland.’
    • ‘Her folded hands form the front corner of the pyramid.’
    • ‘She rolled it along quite easily in spite of its pyramid shape.’
    • ‘What we did was build an upside-down pyramid.’
    • ‘A revised food guide pyramid will be released in the spring of 2005.’
    • ‘But they may retain their status because of this summer's reorganisation of the non-league football pyramid.’
    • ‘Many feel that the food pyramid isn't dramatically flawed; it's just dangerously vague.’
    • ‘Of course, our leisure rested upon a pyramid of startling inequality and social difference.’
    • ‘The metal balcony is propped from the rubble wall, and is an addition to traditional forms, as is the shallow pyramid of the roof.’
    • ‘The cage is a pyramid of Plexiglas, complete with a swinging door, air holes and a gold garland sash.’
    • ‘Is it time to invert the knowledge pyramid and put experienced doctors back into primary decision making roles?’
    • ‘Designed by Georgi Stoilov, it is shaped as an inverted pyramid, each of the six floors protruding above the lower one.’
    • ‘The most common type is simply a small truncated concrete pyramid on top of which the wooden post sits.’
    • ‘Similarly, some trainers like to follow a pyramid of lifts with a pump-up set.’
    • ‘Other pictures must be reflected in shiny spheres, mirrored pyramids, or other reflecting shapes to reveal their true identity.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such a solid is sometimes called a Heronian tetrahedron or a perfect pyramid.’
    2. 2.2Anatomy A structure of more or less pyramidal form, especially in the brain or the renal medulla.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Corticospinal and corticobulbar fibers descend in large bundles at this level, destined for the pyramids of the medulla oblongata.’
      • ‘The cortical tissue in the area between the medullary pyramids constitutes the renal columns of Bertin.’
      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’
      • ‘Industrialization destroyed the great pyramid of feudal social order.’
      • ‘You are going to have a pyramid of authorities under each minister and director-general.’
      • ‘Achieving the upper levels of the pyramid requires social and political action.’
      • ‘He will be looking to move up the non-league pyramid.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the pyramid is level 5, consisting of a case series.’
      • ‘The social pyramid does not consist of economic building blocks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This deficit is designed to enrich those at the very top of the social pyramid while cutting services for those lower down.’
      • ‘An intermediate, and much larger, level in the pyramid is crowded with the media.’
      • ‘General managers, in addition to business-side duties, sit atop a pyramid of talent scouts.’
      • ‘The majority of women still work at the lower levels of the economic pyramid.’
      • ‘When there is enormous economic scarcity on the bottom of the social pyramid, pluralism can undo democracy.’
      • ‘Each pyramid pod recruits more people at $5,000 for each of the seven spots in the pyramid.’
      • ‘Drug distribution is organized in a classic pyramid fashion.’
      • ‘The speed isn't important, but when the pyramid is 21 levels tall, there will be 4.6 billion people in it.’
      • ‘The " pyramid structure " is a top-down authority structure.’
      • ‘Is it implied that God is just the highest in a pyramid of arbitrary powers indifferent to justice?’
      • ‘The crux of the idea is to invert the welfare pyramid.’
      • ‘A bottom of the pyramid approach would be more suitable for India.’
  • 3A system of financial growth achieved by a small initial investment, with subsequent investments being funded by using unrealized profits as collateral.

    • ‘The regime also convinced citizens to invest in pyramid schemes run by friends of the ruling family.’
    • ‘"We've been accused of operating a franchise or running a pyramid scheme.’
    • ‘It is a pyramid of credit built on a base of credit.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘So, take a leaf out of Warren's book and use the stock market - not financial pyramid schemes - to make you wealthier.’
    • ‘This diversity leads to the beauty of the investment pyramid.’
    • ‘In other words, the change to the pyramid selling scheme provisions has absolutely no purpose and does absolutely nothing.’
    1. 3.1
      short for pyramid scheme

verb

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

    ‘debt was pyramided on top of unrealistic debt in an orgy of speculation’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Achieve a substantial return on (money or property) after making a small initial investment.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pyramid

/ˈpirəˌmid//ˈpɪrəˌmɪd/