spike in something

Discussion in 'English Only' started by CORALINNA, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. CORALINNA Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brasil
    According to the Cambridge Dictionary (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/business-english/spike_1?q=spike):

    a higher price, amount, etc., usually before a fall:
    a spike in sth Local florists saw a spike in business for Mother's Day.
    If price spikes continue, people will not be able to afford the new houses they want."

    But can we use that for temperature? For example:

    A spike in temperature forced people to stay at home.
  2. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    Yes, but it would have to be a sudden increase in temperature immediately followed by a similarly sudden decrease, not a sustained hot spell.
  3. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    I also would say yes, but I don't think the "spike" precludes there having to be a decrease.

    The "spike" is the sudden increase that keeps people at home, and what happens after that is not all that relevant.
  4. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    But isn't a spike of any sort like this: /\?

  5. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    Yikes for spikes.

    "preclude" was poorly chosen, Uncle Bob, you are right.

    I don't think a spike, by definition, automatically means there is a decrease. It may plateau.

    So the spike is / , and what happens thereafter isn't really relevant, as far as I'm concerned.

    It may continue to spike, for all we know. This is all my opinion.
  6. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    I think a spike, by definition, is /\. Therefore 'a sudden spike in house prices' is a temporary increase; if the decrease on the downward side of the spike is less than the increase on the upward side of the next spike there will be a net increase, but a spike is pointy and that's the point.

    Or so it seems to me.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  7. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
  8. Dexta Senior Member

    English (British and Australian)
    Medical staff use "spike in temperature" to indicate an abrupt rise and I think it is fairly commonplace these days for spike to also mean jump/rise only with no literal relationship to the geometric properties of spikes.

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