wire (n.)

Old English wir "metal drawn out into a fine thread," from Proto-Germanic *wira- (source also of Old Norse viravirka "filigree work," Swedish vira "to twist," Old High German wiara "fine gold work"), from PIE root *wei- "to turn, twist, plait."


A wire as marking the finish line of a racecourse is attested from 1883; hence the figurative down to the wire. Wire-puller in the political sense is 1848, American English, on the image of pulling the wires that work a puppet.

wire (v.)

c. 1300, "adorn with (gold) wire," from wire (n.). From 1859 as "communicate by means of a telegraphic wire;" 1891 as "furnish with electrical wires and connections." Related: Wired; wiring.

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