noun (plural helices /-ləˌsēz/)
1An object having a three-dimensional shape like that of a wire wound uniformly in a single layer around a cylinder or cone, as in a corkscrew or spiral staircase.
- They found that DNA consists of two connected twisted strands in the shape of a helix.
- The excess is carefully cut away to fabricate the helix shape.
- A television monitor showed what was inside: a glowing ball of gas surrounded by a metal helix.
1.1 Geometry A curve on a conical or cylindrical surface that would become a straight line if the surface were unrolled into a plane.
- A template in the shape of a narrow right-angle triangle is wrapped around the cylinder to be threaded, and the hypotenuse of the triangle forms the line of the helix.
- The conical helix of their upward spiral against the flat blue sky is completely hypnotic.
1.2 Biochemistry An extended spiral chain of atoms in a protein, nucleic acid, or other polymeric molecule.
- The gray bands indicate the helix regions of the protein.
- DNA molecules in nature are built from two complementary strands that bind to form the double helix.
- The double helix of DNA is held together by hydrogen bonds.
Mid 16th century (in the architectural sense 'spiral ornament'): via Latin from Greek.
Words that rhyme with helixFelix
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