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


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freewheeled; freewheeling; freewheels

intransitive verb

: to roll along freely independent of a gear
: to move, live, or play freely or irresponsibly
freewheeler noun

Examples of freewheel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
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
Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, and Eliza Scanlen are charming as the March sisters, freewheeling teenagers who put on plays, form a secret society, and develop a keen understanding of the relationship between art and commerce. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 22 Feb. 2024 Sendak’s minutely crosshatched, freewheeling pictures are as familiar and mysterious as the contours of your childhood bedroom in the dark. Elisabeth Egan, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2024 Auto manufacturers are also being squeezed by softening demand and an abrupt industry pullback after years of freewheeling spending on EVs. Dylan Sloan, Fortune, 19 Jan. 2024 Each brings the precision, finesse and freewheeling spirit that underpins Oh’s alternately spacious and knotty compositions. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Jan. 2024 The testy exchanges and frequent rebukes from the judge underscored Trump’s unwillingness to adapt his famously freewheeling rhetorical style to a formal courtroom setting governed by rules of evidence and legal protocol. Jill Colvin, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 Both have a reputation for playing freewheeling three-hour shows that create a heart-and-soul connection with the audience. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, 30 Aug. 2023 Especially when coupled with a dynamic video full of freewheeling grocery-store choreography, the alt-R&B artist’s confidence in collecting simps is infectious. Pitchfork, 12 Dec. 2023 His book is freewheeling in a way, so collecting and collating his thoughts and quotes into categories was a huge process. Lily Moayeri, SPIN, 7 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'freewheel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1899, in the meaning defined above


1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of freewheel was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near freewheel

Cite this Entry

“Freewheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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