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

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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, "How bicycles have changed in the last 25 years," 10 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ingram’s freewheeling, smart-alecky approach had its moments of anxiety. Richard Sandomir,, "Dan Ingram, irreverent NYC disc jockey, is dead at 83," 26 June 2018 If your NuvaRing falls out, your next steps depend on how long your vagina’s been freewheeling it. Korin Miller, SELF, "How to Insert NuvaRing So It Stays in Place," 25 Jan. 2019 This very specific strain of immigration hawkery — the fear of murder by an immigrant — is the reason Trump had a constituency in the early, freewheeling days of his campaign. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump has made Mollie Tibbetts the latest martyr in his anti-immigrant crusade," 24 Aug. 2018 The former Homeland Security secretary and Marine Corps general made swift changes in both personnel and protocol, limiting the once-freewheeling environment surrounding the president. John Roberts, Fox News, "Trump asks John Kelly to stay as chief of staff through 2020, sources say," 31 July 2018 Trump digs at Pelosi, Waters, hints at Supreme Court thinking during freewheeling rally Who is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: The battle over the Supreme Court begins; Trump-Putin summit details to be revealed," 28 June 2018 But the truth is, summer is meant for freewheeling, ditching obligations (ideally!) and kicking back. New York Times, "Here’s Your Summer Hair Guide," 12 June 2018 Despite the kingdom’s wealth, businessmen would rather work in freewheeling Dubai than Riyadh. The Economist, "How to ensure Muhammad bin Salman’s reforms succeed," 23 June 2018 But what’s even more astonishing than the freewheeling setlists and the freewheeling attitude toward wading into the crowd, in this business, at this level, these days, is an 85-year-old performer who can still bring it. Théoden Janes, charlotteobserver, "Review: Willie Nelson got his much-anticipated do-over in Charlotte. So, how’d it go?," 21 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of freewheel


1899, in the meaning defined above


1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for freewheel

The first known use of freewheel was in 1899

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with freewheel

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