Definition of spiky in US English:


(also spikey)


  • 1Having many spikes or sharp projecting points.

    ‘a spiky cactus’
    • ‘Thorny plants are unpleasant to rub against and trimmings from spikey, prickly plants placed under bird-feeders help protect our feathered friends.’
    • ‘Pufferfish can balloon into a spiky sphere within moments of sensing a nearby threat.’
    • ‘Ooh, what are those strange spiky fruits?’
    • ‘Having experienced unspoilt forest and encountered proboscis monkeys, I found myself face-to-face with a green wall of spikey fronged oil palms.’
    • ‘All the living areas looked out onto the beautifully landscaped garden, with shrubs, grasses and spiky plants.’
    • ‘The creature scavenges spikey structures from sea sponges and builds a shell out of them.’
    • ‘A central column of stone urns filled with spiky plants adds a colonial 1930s elegance.’
    • ‘Some viruses may also be protected by an outer spikey layer called an envelope.’
    • ‘The slender, spikey fish is regarded as having one of the sturdiest and most flexible forms of animal armour.’
    • ‘The rare Boar fish is usually only about 15-20cm long, thick-skinned and spiky.’
    jagged, barbed, serrated, sawtooth, sawtoothed
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Resembling a spike or spikes.
      ‘his hair was dark and spiky’
      ‘wear pencil skirts with spikey heels’
      • ‘The singer's spiky mullet was a big fashion must-have in the 1980s and helped turn him into a pop icon.’
      • ‘The suspect is described as a white man, mid-twenties, 5'6" tall, thin build, with dark spiky hair.’
      • ‘Their spikey, peroxide blonde locks mean they do have quite a similarity.’
      • ‘Whether it's spikey, floppy, high-lighted or if he's rocking a full-on beard, he manages to pull off any style with boyband perfection.’
      • ‘She showed off some leg, as well as her spiky heels, as she headed inside for the festivities’
      • ‘Simply because you prefer hard bristled, spikey toothbrushes it doesn't mean that's what's best for your child.’
      • ‘She also wore spikey leopard-print booties with the outfit.’
      • ‘Saint Laurent booties finish it off in fashionable style, and the actress's spiky pixie has never looked better.’
      • ‘Harper was in a T-shirt, mesh shorts, sneakers and his spiky mohawk.’
      • ‘I grew a long, spikey beard.’
      • ‘A rangy 29-year-old in a baggy blue jumper with spiky blond hair and a pointed beard, he is already something of a German media phenomenon.’
  • 2informal Easily offended or annoyed.

    • ‘Jensen's inventive tale features a very real, very spiky protagonist.’
    • ‘His relationship with his fellow referee was always spikey to say the least but the two men do now have one thing in common.’
    • ‘The guy is talented, but very spiky and too wound up to succeed at the highest level.’
    • ‘She is captivated by the clever, awkward and occasionally spiky cosmologist.’
    • ‘The performer's notoriously spiky interviews and awards show interventions have also made headlines around the world.’
    • ‘He developed a rather spiky relationship with the paparazzi and the past year has seen him punch paps and swear at them in his quest to evade them.’
    • ‘He may ladle on the mannered affectations but they're laced with a really spiky humour.’
    • ‘I tend to play people who are a bit spiky or abrasive or lack filters, or say what they think.’
    • ‘We can only imagine what their estranged and notoriously spiky band leader thinks of it.’
    • ‘The match was wonderful, very competitive and very spiky, which was just the way Tony would have liked it - it was well played.’
    • ‘I remember the head coach making this point in slightly spiky fashion during a post-match press conference four seasons ago.’
    • ‘They're quite spiky around each other and find it difficult to open up with each other.’