An example of a helix is the shape inside the shell of a chambered nautilus sea creature.
nounpl. helixes or helices
- any spiral, as one lying in a single plane or, esp., one moving around a right circular cone or cylinder at a constant angle, as a screw or bolt thread does
- Anat. the folded rim of cartilage around the outer ear
- Archit. an ornamental spiral, as a volute on a Corinthian or Ionic capital
- Zool. any of a genus (Helix) of spiral-shelled land gastropods, including the common, edible European snail (H. pomatia)
Origin of helixClassical Latin kind of ivy, spiral ; from Classical Greek a spiral ; from helissein, to turn around ; from Indo-European base an unverified form wel-, to turn, twist from source walk
nounpl. he·lix·es or hel·i·ces
- Mathematics A three-dimensional curve that lies on a cylinder or cone, so that its angle to a plane perpendicular to the axis is constant.
- A spiral form or structure.
- Anatomy The folded rim of skin and cartilage around most of the outer ear.
- Architecture A volute on a Corinthian or Ionic capital.
verbhe·lixed, he·lix·ing, he·lix·es
- To have the shape of a helix.
- To move along a helical course; spiral.
Origin of helixLatin, from Greek; see wel-2 in Indo-European roots.
in a right circular cylinder
(plural helixes or helices)
- (mathematics) A curve on the surface of a cylinder or cone such that its angle to a plane perpendicular to the axis is constant; the three-dimensional curve seen in a screw or a spiral staircase.
- (architecture) A small volute under the abacus of a Corinthian capital.
- (anatomy) The incurved rim of the external ear.
- An upside down midair 360° spin in playboating.
From Latin helix, from Ancient Greek ἕλιξ (heliks, “something twisted or spiral”).