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[wahyuh r-ee] /ˈwaɪər i/
adjective, wirier, wiriest.
made of wire.
in the form of wire.
resembling wire, as in form, stiffness, etc.:
wiry grass.
lean and sinew:
a wiry little person.
produced by or resembling the sound of a vibrating wire:
wiry tones.
Origin of wiry
1580-90; wire + -y1
Related forms
wirily, adverb
wiriness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wiry
  • Song: a high-pitched, wiry to lisping squeaky warble from perch, often prolonged and repeated with pulsating succession.
  • wiry stems make the plants less subject to breakage than petunias, and tobacco budworms seem uninterested in foliage and flowers.
  • wiry trainers possessed of supreme cool and confidence.
  • In this first concert, the players created a slightly wiry tone using incisive attacks and minimal vibrato.
  • The box is emptied of the bottles it once held, and filled with packages of wiry string used for rackets.
  • After the video, a tiny, wiry gentleman with a thatch of white hair approached the lectern.
  • Far from being portly and slow moving, he was a wiry little guy, no more than five feet tall.
  • wiry tree branches paint the cracked interior walls where large antique mantles once stood.
  • Soft and pliable when wet, but wiry and brittle when dry.
  • One or two wiry leaves grow from the base to the top of each plant.
British Dictionary definitions for wiry


adjective wirier, wiriest
(of people or animals) slender but strong in constitution
made of or resembling wire, esp in stiffness: wiry hair
(of a sound) produced by or as if by a vibrating wire
Derived Forms
wirily, adverb
wiriness, noun
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 wiry

1580s, "made of wire," from wire (n.) + -y (2). As "resembling wire," From 1590s; sense of "lean, tough" is first recorded 1808. Related: Wiriness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wiry in Medicine

wiry wir·y (wīr'ē)
adj. wir·i·er, wir·i·est

  1. Resembling wire in form or quality, especially in stiffness.

  2. Sinewy and lean.

  3. Filiform and hard. Used of a pulse.

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