free·​wheel | \ ˈfrē-ˈ(h)wēl How to pronounce freewheel (audio) \

Definition of freewheel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a clutch fitted in the rear hub of a bicycle that permits the rear wheel to run on free from the rear sprocket when the pedals are stopped


freewheeled; freewheeling; freewheels

Definition of freewheel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to roll along freely independent of a gear
2 : to move, live, or play freely or irresponsibly

Other Words from freewheel


freewheeler noun

Examples of freewheel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On the other side, the spokes meet the axle slightly off-center, while the gears (and the freewheel that allows them to rotate freely in only one direction) take up the space between there and the frame. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 10 Nov. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rodgers is not entitled to freewheel on this matter. Sally Jenkins, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Nov. 2021 The man and the rest of his freewheeling pets got closer and continued to yell. Beth Spotswood,, 27 May 2020 The frontman, erstwhile essayist, and freewheeling Instagrammer talked to EW via phone about his worst fears, his hopes for the future, and his chili recipe (Cincinnati style, or go home). Leah Greenblatt,, 13 May 2020 The exchange was an exaggeration of the real-life video captured at the reception at Buckingham Palace last week, which appeared to show Trudeau, Macron, Johnson and others laughing about Trump’s freewheeling news conferences earlier in the day. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2019 Is Nora From Queens, where the Asian American family doesn't have to mean strife and compromise, but unconditional encouragement and freewheeling fun. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Feb. 2020 But the movie, for all its retrograde politics and wham-bam machismo, can also be slick, silly fun — a giddy exercise in freewheeling nihilism, played to the hilt. Leah Greenblatt,, 23 Jan. 2020 The discussion was freewheeling as the families lamented the justice delayed not just for them but also for all the families and friends of victims. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, 1 Feb. 2020 But Trump’s freewheeling approach to governance made those processes somewhat obsolete. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 28 Jan. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'freewheel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of freewheel


1899, in the meaning defined above


1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About freewheel

Time Traveler for freewheel

Time Traveler

The first known use of freewheel was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near freewheel

free weights



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for freewheel

Cite this Entry

“Freewheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!