\ ˈrȯi(-ə)l, sense vt 2 is also ˈrī(-ə)l\
roiled; roiling; roils

Definition of roil

transitive verb

1a : to make turbid by stirring up the sediment or dregs of
b : to stir up : disturb, disorder

intransitive verb

: to move turbulently : be in a state of turbulence or agitation conflicting emotions roiling inside her

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for roil


boil, churn, moil, seethe

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of roil in a Sentence

Financial markets have been roiled by the banking crisis. the waters of the gulf tossed and roiled as the hurricane surged toward the shore

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo: joel karppanen/epa-efe/rex/Shutterstock That is roiling steel prices. Alistair Macdonald, WSJ, "Tariffs Roil Global Steel Trade, Creating Winners and Losers," 29 Nov. 2018 Venezuela is scheduled to host the Caribbean Series in February at Barquisimeto, one of the city’s hardest hit by power outages that have roiled much of the country. Joshua Goodman, The Seattle Times, "Venezuelan fans endure sacrifices to ‘Play Ball’ amid crisis," 15 Oct. 2018 Hughes’ job has given her a front-row seat to the school wars that have dramatically roiled Arizona this year. The Voorhes, Glamour, "I'm a Woman in a Battleground State. Here's What Politicians Don't Understand About Me.," 21 Aug. 2018 Most CEOs are careful to avoid making comments that could roil the market for their stocks. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk sends Tesla stock soaring with tweet about possible buyout," 7 Aug. 2018 WASHINGTON - House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., sought Friday to defend his dismissal of the House chaplain, a decision that has roiled the chamber in recent days, with some members of both parties questioning his motives. The Washington Post,, "Paul Ryan disputes assertions he fired House chaplain over prayer," 27 Apr. 2018 Relations between Washington and Riyadh have been roiled following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and amid the controversial war in Yemen. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "U.S. Envoy Meets High-Ranking Taliban Officials in Push for Peace," 17 Dec. 2018 And Chicago was recently roiled by protests following the police shooting of a 37-year-old black man, reigniting racial tensions in the city. German Lopez, Vox, "Trump is still tweeting about the NFL national anthem protests," 10 Aug. 2018 There is some evidence in Wisconsin — as in the traditionally red states roiled by teacher protests this spring — that such a shift may be underway. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "A new public education movement is emerging in Wisconsin, a rebuke to Gov. Walker’s war on labor and school privatization," 3 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of roil

1590, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for roil

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about roil

Dictionary Entries near roil



roi fainéant





Statistics for roil

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for roil

The first known use of roil was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for roil



English Language Learners Definition of roil

: to upset (someone or something) very much : to cause (someone or something) to become very agitated or disturbed

: to move in a violent and confused way

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on roil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with roil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for roil

Nglish: Translation of roil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of roil for Arabic Speakers

Comments on roil

What made you want to look up roil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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