Definition of pyramid in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɪrəmɪd/


1A monumental structure with a square or triangular base and sloping sides that meet in a point at the top, especially one built of stone as a royal tomb in ancient Egypt.
Example sentences
  • The ancient Egyptians used the pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and temples for their gods.
  • How were ancient peoples able to construct monumental Egyptian pyramids in an age devoid of the tools of modern technology?
  • The overall appearance of this part of the block slightly resembles a stepped pyramid.

Pyramids were built as tombs for Egyptian pharaohs from the 3rd dynasty (circa 2649 bc) until circa 1640 bc. The early step pyramid, with several levels and a flat top, developed into the true pyramid, such as the three largest at Giza near Cairo (the Pyramids, including the Great Pyramid of Cheops) which were one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Monuments of similar shape are associated with the Aztec and Maya civilizations of around 1200 bc- ad 750, and, like those in Egypt, were part of large ritual complexes.

2An object, shape, or arrangement in the form of a pyramid: a pyramid of logs [as modifier]: a pyramid roof
More example sentences
  • Designed by Georgi Stoilov, it is shaped as an inverted pyramid, each of the six floors protruding above the lower one.
  • The book says you can also shape them in little pyramids like French bakeries sometimes do.
  • A raised pyramid roof and cricket ball-proof windows will offer sweeping views over the parkland.
2.1 Geometry A polyhedron of which one face is a polygon of any number of sides, and the other faces are triangles with a common vertex: a three-sided pyramid
More example sentences
  • Volumes of solids such as prisms, pyramids, tetrahedrons, wedges, cylinders and truncated cones are calculated.
  • Such a solid is sometimes called a Heronian tetrahedron or a perfect pyramid.
  • A hedge trimmed into a reverse pyramid shape will become sparse at the bottom from lack of light.
2.2 Anatomy A structure of more or less pyramidal form, especially in the brain or the renal medulla.
Example sentences
  • The cortical tissue in the area between the medullary pyramids constitutes the renal columns of Bertin.
  • Corticospinal and corticobulbar fibers descend in large bundles at this level, destined for the pyramids of the medulla oblongata.
  • The surgical section covers incision and approaches for septal surgery, together with surgery of the pyramid, globule, turbinates and nasal cavity.
2.3An organization or system that is structured with fewer people or things at each level as one approaches the top: the lowest strata of the social pyramid
More example sentences
  • Achieving the upper levels of the pyramid requires social and political action.
  • The majority of women still work at the lower levels of the economic pyramid.
  • When there is enormous economic scarcity on the bottom of the social pyramid, pluralism can undo democracy.
2.4 (pyramids) A game played on a billiard table with fifteen coloured balls arranged in a triangle and a cue ball.
Example sentences
  • He used to spend whole days in his billiard room, where he played pyramids indefatigably till his arms and legs ached.
  • I've never played pyramids in my life.
  • Have you ever played Pyramids? It has to be the hardest of all the cue sports - but it's fabulous.
3A system of financial growth achieved by a small initial investment, with subsequent investments being funded by using unrealized profits as collateral: the eventual collapse of illegal pyramids
More example sentences
  • This diversity leads to the beauty of the investment pyramid.
  • If the main inducement to customers is their own future profits, then MLM has become a pyramid system.
  • So, take a leaf out of Warren's book and use the stock market - not financial pyramid schemes - to make you wealthier.
3.1 short for pyramid scheme.


[with object] chiefly North American
1Stack or arrange in the shape of a pyramid.
Example sentences
  • What is the " best " way to do the gene pyramiding?
  • Most of the NFL men are gathered at the finish line, pyramiding with watches outstretched.
2Achieve a substantial return on (money or property) after making a small initial investment: a bank can pyramid modest capital into an enormous sum of money
More example sentences
  • This allowed them to inflate, to pyramid deposits and loans on a smaller and smaller base of gold.
  • So they feed their bonds to the central bank and use the proceeds to pyramid in commodities, causing prices to rise.
  • Worse still, they will buy more, expecting that nice back-wind from the Fed to make pyramiding risk-free.



Pronunciation: /pɪrəˈmɪdɪk/
Example sentences
  • In fact, this ingenious technique gives a pyramidic structure to any melam.
  • This inverted pyramidic structure of global capital is the source of its extreme instability.


Pronunciation: /pɪrəˈmɪdɪk(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • And they have to accept that we have a pyramidical hierarchical structure.
  • ‘Art is a very pyramidical profession, so only a few at the very top are actually fixed up - maybe like Douglas [Gordon],’ he says.
  • There is a whole branch of the publishing industry devoted to meeting this hunger for pyramidical.


Pronunciation: /-ˈmɪdɪk(ə)li/


Late Middle English (in the geometrical sense): via Latin from Greek puramis, puramid-, of unknown ultimate origin.

  • The word pyramid was first used in English in the geometrical sense. It came via Latin from Greek puramis, which also meant a type of cake. This is taken by some to be the earlier sense, the geometrical sense arising from a resemblance in shape. An Egyptian origin is now generally rejected. Pediment (late 16th century) for the triangular upper part of a building was formerly written as periment and may be an alteration of pyramid.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pyra|mid

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