\ ˈrȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce roil (audio) , transitive sense 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

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Synonyms for roil


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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 Thanks to the uncertainties inherent in quantum mechanics, its interior roils with countless gluons and quark-antiquark pairs that flit in and out of existence too quickly to be directly observed. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Department of Energy picks New York over Virginia for site of new particle collider," 9 Jan. 2020 The actions are roiling a cocoa market that in recent years has been marked by low prices that have exacerbated rampant poverty among African cocoa growers and prompted many chocolate makers to re-examine their supply chains. Paul Page, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Supply Chain Child’s Play; Backed up Barges; Cocoa’s Bittersweet Pricing," 3 Jan. 2020 On recalling Zantac What to do for the fizzle and roilWhen refluxing guts sour and spoil? Meghana Keshavan, STAT, "2019 in limericks: The highs and lows from the life sciences," 31 Dec. 2019 In the 10 years since, pioneering head trauma research has roiled the sport, although in 2009, the dangers of playing football were not a primary concern. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "Adding Football Saved One College. Dumping It Boosted Another.," 27 Dec. 2019 But again, other forces were roiling markets in that period, particularly a Russian currency meltdown and the near-collapse of Long-term Capital Management, a massive hedge fund whose demise could have set off a global financial crisis. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Stocks shrug off Trump's impeachment, but could this be different from Clinton, Nixon sagas?," 20 Dec. 2019 The extensive sentences have roiled faith, civil rights and criminal justice reform groups, that have pushed for reforms in the Legislature and on the sentencing guidelines commission. Dana Ferguson, Twin Cities, "Public to weigh in on probation caps for many offenders," 19 Dec. 2019 Their scandals roiled South Korea’s entertainment industry earlier this year when the investigation began. NBC News, "K-pop stars get prison terms for sexual crimes," 29 Nov. 2019 If the same happens this time, investors are sure to lose faith and financial markets and economic growth will be roiled. Mark Zandi For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Pressure will be on the Fed to clean up Trump's trade war mess," 31 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of roil

1590, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for roil

origin unknown

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Statistics for roil

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Roil.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for roil


How to pronounce roil (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of roil

chiefly US
: 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on roil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for roil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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