\ 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


boil, churn, moil, seethe

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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

Her decision, which was met with skepticism by some prodemocracy figures in Hong Kong, comes as the protests near their three-month mark and show little sign of abating, roiling a city known for its orderliness and hurting its economy. Austin Ramzy,, "Hong Kong’s leader to withdraw extradition bill that ignited protests," 4 Sep. 2019 Alinor is a poor woman living in England’s tidelands, beset by suspicion from her neighbors and the country’s roiling civil war that threatens to topple centuries of monarchical rule. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Tidelands is a dull, dour misstep from Philippa Gregory: EW review," 21 Aug. 2019 The lifetime ban of Mr. Morris, 81, a vaunted Olympian whose books on horsemanship are called bibles by riders, has roiled the equestrian community. New York Times, "Whispers of Sexual Abuse Tailed an Equestrian Legend for Decades. At 81, He Was Barred for Life.," 8 Aug. 2019 For Bianco, teasing out those distinctions and revealing the commotion roiling beneath what, on the surface, looks like passivity was the point. Elizabeth Kiefer, Glamour, "HBO’s Share Addresses Sexual Assault Unlike Any Movie You’ve Ever Seen," 26 July 2019 Today, debates over school segregation and integration programs still roil cities around the country. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "How Kamala Harris’ experience in Berkeley’s busing program shaped her life — and changed the presidential race," 28 June 2019 Firefighters struggled to see through roiling clouds of thick black smoke, and at one point had to suspend the search and get out because conditions became too dangerous. Don Stacom,, "Investigators: Fatal New Britain fire began with burning food," 28 June 2019 As the week went on, anxiety and speculation roiled other chefs and restaurateurs who had been contacted by Michelin fact-checkers earlier in the judging process. Michele Parente, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego joins dining elite as first Michelin star goes to Addison," 3 June 2019 Stocks and bond yields around the world fell Friday after President Trump threatened to impose escalating tariffs on Mexico, capping a brutal month for markets as rising trade tensions roiled investor confidence. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, "Stocks Fall as Trump’s Mexico Tariff Threat Rattles Markets," 31 May 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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Dictionary Entries near roil



roi fainéant





Statistics for roil

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for roil

The first known use of roil was in 1590

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More Definitions for roil



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

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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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