• Wheel


    • enPR: wÄ“l, IPA: /wiːl/, /hwiːl/
    • Rhymes: -iːl
    • Homophones: wheal, weal in accents with the wine-whine merger, we'll in accents with the wine-whine merger


    From Middle English whele, from Old English hwēoġol, hwēol, from Proto-Germanic *hwehwlą (compare West Frisian tsjil, Dutch wiel, Danish hjul), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷekʷlóm, *kʷékʷlos (cf. Tocharian B kokale ("cart, wagon"), Ancient Greek κύκλος (kuklos, "cycle, wheel"), Avestan (čaxrō), Sanskrit चक्र), reduplication of *kʷel- ("to turn") (compare Welsh dymchwel ("to overturn, upset"), Latin colere ("to till, cultivate"), Tocharian A and B käl ("to bear; bring"), Ancient Greek (Aeolic) πέλεσθαι (pélesthai, "to be in motion"), Old Church Slavonic коло (kolo, "wheel"), Albanian sjell ("to bring, carry, turn around"), Avestan (čaraiti, "it circulates"), Sanskrit चरति (cárati, "it moves, wanders")).



    (plural wheels)
    1. A circular device capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines.
      • 1922, Ben Travers, A Cuckoo in the Nest Chapter 5, The departure was not unduly prolonged....Within the door Mrs. Spoker hastily imparted to Mrs. Love a few final sentiments on the subject of Divine Intention in the disposition of buckets; farewells and last commiserations; a deep, guttural instigation to the horse; and the wheels of the waggonette crunched heavily away into obscurity.
      1. (informal, with "the") A steering wheel and its implied control of a vehicle.
      2. (nautical) The instrument attached to the rudder by which a vessel is steered.
      3. A spinning wheel.
      4. A potter's wheel.
        • Bible, Jeremiah xviii. 3Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
        • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)Turn, turn, my wheel! This earthen jar
          A touch can make, a touch can mar.
      5. (heraldiccharge) This device used as a heraldic charge, usually with six spokes.
      6. A wheel-like device used as an instrument of torture or punishment.
      7. (slang) A person with a great deal of power or influence; a big wheel.
      8. (poker slang) The lowest straight in poker: ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.
      9. (automotive) Wheel rim.
      10. A round portion of cheese.
      11. A Catherine wheel firework.
      12. (obsolete) A rolling or revolving body; anything of a circular form; a disk; an orb.
      13. A turn or revolution; rotation; compass.
        • Robert South (1634–1716)According to the common vicissitude and wheel of things, the proud and the insolent, after long trampling upon others, come at length to be trampled upon themselves.
        • John Milton (1608-1674)He throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel.


    Full definition of wheel


    1. (intransitive or transitive) To roll along as on wheels.Wheel that trolley over here, would you?
    2. (intransitive) To travel around in large circles, particularly in the air.The vulture wheeled above us.
    3. (transitive) To transport something or someone using any wheeled mechanism, such as a wheelchair.
    4. (transitive) To put into a rotatory motion; to cause to turn or revolve; to make or perform in a circle.
      • GrayThe beetle wheels her droning flight.
      • MiltonNow heaven, in all her glory, shone, and rolled
        Her motions, as the great first mover's hand
        First wheeled their course.

    Derived terms

    Terms derived from the verb wheel
    © Wiktionary