1 [spahyk]
a naillike fastener, 3 to 12 inches (7.6 to 30.5 cm) long and proportionately thicker than a common nail, for fastening together heavy timbers or railroad track.
something resembling such a nail; a stiff, sharp-pointed piece or part: to set spikes in the top of a cement wall.
a sharp-pointed piece of metal set with the point outward, as on a weapon.
an abrupt increase or rise: a chart showing a spike of unusual activity in the stock market; a sudden spike of electrical current.
a rectangular or naillike metal projection on the heel and sole of a shoe for improving traction, as of a baseball player or a runner.
spikes, a pair of shoes having such projections.
the unbranched antler of a young deer.
Botany. a flower stalk.
a pointed portion of a continuous curve or graph, usually rising above the adjacent portion: a spike in the value of the voltage.
Volleyball. a hard smash, hit close to the net, almost straight down into the opponent's court.
Slang. a hypodermic needle.
verb (used with object), spiked, spiking.
to fasten or secure with a spike or spikes.
to provide or set with a spike or spikes.
to pierce with or impale on a spike.
to set or stud with something suggesting spikes.
to injure (another player or a competitor) with the spikes of one's shoe, as in baseball.
Volleyball. to hit (a ball in the air) with a powerful, overarm motion from a position close to the net so as to cause it to travel almost straight down into the court of the opponents.
Football. to slam (the ball) to the ground in the end zone, after scoring a touchdown.
to render (a muzzle-loading gun) useless by driving a spike into the touchhole.
to make ineffective; frustrate or thwart: to spike a rumor; to spike someone's chances for promotion.
to add alcoholic liquor to (a drink).
to add (a chemical, poison, or other substance) to: The cocoa was spiked with cyanide.
Journalism Slang. to refuse (a story) by or as if by placing on a spindle.
verb (used without object), spiked, spiking.
to rise or increase sharply (often followed by up ): Interest rates spiked up last week.
spike someone's guns. gun1 ( def 16 ).

1300–50; Middle English spik(e) (noun) < Old Norse spīkr nail; akin to Old Norse spīk, Middle Low German spīker nail

spikelike, adjective
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2 [spahyk]
an ear, as of wheat or other grain.
Botany. an inflorescence in which the flowers are without a stalk, or apparently so, along an elongated, unbranched axis.

1350–1400; Middle English; probably special use of spike1, influenced by Latin spīca ear of grain

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
spike1 (spaɪk)
1.  a sharp point
2.  any sharp-pointed object, esp one made of metal
3.  a long metal nail
4.  physics
 a.  a transient variation in voltage or current in an electric circuit
 b.  a graphical recording of this, such as one of the peaks on an electroencephalogram
5.  (plural) shoes with metal projections on the sole and heel for greater traction, as used by athletes
6.  the straight unbranched antler of a young deer
7.  slang (Brit) another word for dosshouse
8.  to secure or supply with or as with spikes
9.  to render ineffective or block the intentions of; thwart
10.  to impale on a spike
11.  to add alcohol to (a drink)
12.  journalism to reject (a news story)
13.  volleyball to hit (a ball) sharply downwards with an overarm motion from the front of one's own court into the opposing court
14.  (formerly) to render (a cannon) ineffective by blocking its vent with a spike
15.  spike someone's guns to thwart someone's purpose
[C13 spyk; related to Old English spīcing nail, Old Norse spīk splinter, Middle Low German spīker spike, Norwegian spīk spoke², Latin spīca sharp point; see spike²]

spike2 (spaɪk)
1.  an inflorescence consisting of a raceme of sessile flowers, as in the gladiolus and sedges
2.  an ear of wheat, barley, or any other grass that has sessile spikelets
[C14: from Latin spīca ear of corn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"large nail," 1345, probably from O.N. spik "splinter" (related to O.E. spicing "large nail"), from P.Gmc. *spikaz (cf. M.Du. spicher, Du. spijker "nail," O.E. spaca, O.H.G. speihha "spoke"), from PIE base *spei- "sharp point" (cf. L. spica "ear of corn," spina "thorn, prickle, backbone," pinna "pin;"
Gk. spilas "rock, cliff;" Lett. spile "wooden fork;" Lith. speigliai "thorns," spitna "tongue of a buckle," O.E. spitu "spit"). But based on gender difficulties in the Gmc. words, OED casts doubt on this whole derivation and says the Eng. word may be a borrowing of L. spica (see spike (n.2)), from the same root. Slang meaning "needle" is from 1923. Meaning "pointed stud in athletic shoes" is from 1832. Electrical sense of "pulse of short duration" is from 1935.

"ear of grain," 1393, from L. spica "ear of grain," related to spina "thorn" (see spike (n.1)).

1624, "to fasten with spikes," see spike (n.1). Meaning "To rise in a spike" is from 1958. Military sense (1687) means "to disable guns by driving a big nail into the touch-hole." Fig. use of this sense is from 1823. Meaning "to lace (a drink) with liquor" is from 1889. Journalism
sense of "to kill a story before publication" (1908) is from the metal spindle in which old-time editors filed hard copy of stories after they were set in type, or especially when rejected for publication.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

spike (spīk)
A brief electrical event of 3 to 25 milliseconds that gives the appearance in the electroencephalogram of a rising and falling vertical line.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spike   (spīk)  Pronunciation Key 
An elongated indeterminate inflorescence in which the flowers are attached directly to a common stem, rather than borne on individual stalks arising from the stem. The gladiolus produces spikes. The distinctive spikes of grasses such as wheat or barley are known as spikelets. See illustration at inflorescence.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

spike definition

To defeat a selection mechanism by introducing a (sometimes temporary) device that forces a specific result. The word is used in several industries; telephone engineers refer to spiking a relay by inserting a pin to hold the relay in either the closed or open state, and railroaders refer to spiking a track switch so that it cannot be moved. In programming environments it normally refers to a temporary change, usually for testing purposes (as opposed to a permanent change, which would be called hard-coded).

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
How to rebuild confidence in food markets after this summer's spike in wheat
Tiny flowers are tightly clustered on a tall, narrow spike.
Channels sometimes open up when there is no wave, creating an entirely false
Many presidents said they viewed the spike in coaches' compensation as evidence
  of a system that had spun out of control.
Images for spike
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