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.

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

    ‘a pyramid of logs’
    • ‘The cage is a pyramid of Plexiglas, complete with a swinging door, air holes and a gold garland sash.’
    • ‘A revised food guide pyramid will be released in the spring of 2005.’
    • ‘Is it time to invert the knowledge pyramid and put experienced doctors back into primary decision making roles?’
    • ‘But they may retain their status because of this summer's reorganisation of the non-league football pyramid.’
    • ‘Designed by Georgi Stoilov, it is shaped as an inverted pyramid, each of the six floors protruding above the lower one.’
    • ‘She rolled it along quite easily in spite of its pyramid shape.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course, our leisure rested upon a pyramid of startling inequality and social difference.’
    • ‘Many feel that the food pyramid isn't dramatically flawed; it's just dangerously vague.’
    • ‘Other pictures must be reflected in shiny spheres, mirrored pyramids, or other reflecting shapes to reveal their true identity.’
    • ‘Her folded hands form the front corner of the pyramid.’
    • ‘Similarly, some trainers like to follow a pyramid of lifts with a pump-up set.’
    • ‘The most common type is simply a small truncated concrete pyramid on top of which the wooden post sits.’
    • ‘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.’
    heap, stack, mound, pyramid, mass, quantity, bundle, clump, bunch, jumble
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    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The rails that trains run on underground in coal mines are stacked on bogeys in a pyramid shape.’
      • ‘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.’
    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 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.’
      • ‘The cortical tissue in the area between the medullary pyramids constitutes the renal columns of Bertin.’
      turret, minaret, spire, belfry, obelisk, needle, pyramid, cone, finial, shikara, mirador
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    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’
      • ‘Each pyramid pod recruits more people at $5,000 for each of the seven spots in the 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?’
      • ‘This pyramid empowers camp directors to realize an ever-expanding universe of potential campers.’
      • ‘He will be looking to move up the non-league pyramid.’
      • ‘General managers, in addition to business-side duties, sit atop a pyramid of talent scouts.’
      • ‘When there is enormous economic scarcity on the bottom of the social pyramid, pluralism can undo democracy.’
      • ‘The " pyramid structure " is a top-down authority structure.’
      • ‘A bottom of the pyramid approach would be more suitable for India.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the pyramid is level 5, consisting of a case series.’
      • ‘That demographic pyramid has now turned over on Americans who are middle-aged and younger.’
      • ‘The majority of women still work at the lower levels of the economic pyramid.’
      • ‘Drug distribution is organized in a classic pyramid fashion.’
      • ‘You are going to have a pyramid of authorities under each minister and director-general.’
      • ‘The social pyramid does not consist of economic building blocks.’
      • ‘Industrialization destroyed the great pyramid of feudal social order.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The crux of the idea is to invert the welfare pyramid.’
  • 3A system of financial growth achieved by a small initial investment, with subsequent investments being funded by using unrealized profits as collateral.

    • ‘In other words, the change to the pyramid selling scheme provisions has absolutely no purpose and does absolutely nothing.’
    • ‘It is a pyramid of credit built on a base of credit.’
    • ‘This diversity leads to the beauty of the investment pyramid.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If the main inducement to customers is their own future profits, then MLM has become a pyramid system.’
    • ‘The regime also convinced citizens to invest in pyramid schemes run by friends of the ruling family.’
    • ‘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
  • 1 Heap 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. 1.1Achieve a substantial return on (money or property) after making a small initial investment.
      • ‘This allowed them to inflate, to pyramid deposits and loans on a smaller and smaller base of gold.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 geometric sense): via Latin from Greek puramis, puramid-, of unknown ultimate origin.