medieval Latin spīrāl-is (Albertus Magnus, a1255), whence also French spiral, Italian spirale, Spanish espiral.


  • 1a : winding around a center or pole and gradually receding from or approaching it <the spiral curve of a watch spring>
b : helical
c : spiral-bound <a spiral notebook>
  • 2: of or relating to the advancement to higher levels through a series of cyclical movements


In mathematics, a spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point. While a "spiral" and a "helix" are distinct as technical terms, a helix is sometimes described as a spiral in non-technical usage.