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[hel-i-kuh l, hee-li-] /ˈhɛl ɪ kəl, ˈhi lɪ-/
pertaining to or having the form of a helix; spiral.
Origin of helical
1605-15; helic- + -al1
Related forms
helically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for helical
  • Move an electron through a magnetic field and it follows a helical path not a straight one.
  • One challenge people have faced with this motor is interfacing with the helical output gear.
  • He and his team are helping refine some mechanical aspects of a new tool, a helical needle for operating on brain tumors.
  • They did this by linking together the helical columns with loops to restrict their motions.
  • Stars will have to stop their helical movement throughout the galaxy.
  • The triad of helical buffers recedes farther from her, ten stories down at the dusty and dark floor of the well.
  • As they are pushed upward by the swelling population underneath them, they make keratin, a helical protein.
  • Using laser-scanning confocal microscopy for higher magnifications, the group could discern a helical structure.
  • Loop theories may be related to helical string theories if one considers that a loop has a zero helical angle.
British Dictionary definitions for helical


of or shaped like a helix; spiral
Derived Forms
helically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for helical

"spiral-shaped," 1590s, from Latin helicem (see helix) + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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helical in Medicine

helical hel·i·cal (hěl'ĭ-kəl, hē'lĭ-)

  1. Of or having the shape of a helix; spiral.

  2. Having a shape approximating that of a helix.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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