roll

1 of 3

noun (1)

plural rolls
1
a(1)
: a written document that may be rolled up : scroll
specifically : a document containing an official or formal record
the rolls of parliament
(2)
: a manuscript book
b
: a list of names or related items : catalog
c
: an official list
the voter rolls
: such as
(1)
(2)
: a list of members of a school or class or of members of a legislative body
2
: something that is rolled up into a cylinder or ball or rounded as if rolled
rolls of fat
: such as
a
: a quantity (as of fabric or paper) rolled up to form a single package
b
: a hairstyle in which some or all of the hair is rolled or curled up or under
c
: any of various food preparations rolled up for cooking or serving
cabbage rolls
a sushi roll
especially : a small piece of baked yeast dough
d
: a cylindrical twist of tobacco
e
: a roll of paper on which music for a player piano is recorded in perforations which actuate the keys
f
: a flexible case (as of leather) in which articles may be rolled and fastened by straps or clasps
jewelry roll
g(1)
: paper money folded or rolled into a wad
(2)
slang : bankroll
3
: something that performs a rolling action or movement : roller
4
: a wheel for making decorative lines on book covers
also : a design impressed by such a tool

roll

2 of 3

verb

rolled; rolling; rolls

transitive verb

1
a
: to impel forward by causing to turn over and over on a surface
b
: to cause to revolve by turning over and over on or as if on an axis
c
: to cause to move in a circular manner
they rolled their eyes at the absurdity
d
: to form into a mass by turning over and over
e
: to impel forward with an easy continuous motion
f
: to cause to move in a given direction by or as if by turning a crank
rolled down the window
2
a
: to put a wrapping around : enfold, envelop
b
: to wrap round on itself : shape into a ball or roll
rolled up the newspaper
also : to produce by such shaping
rolled his own cigarettes
3
: to press, spread, or level with a roller : make smooth, even, or compact
hulled and rolled oats
roll paint
often used with out
rolled out the dough
4
a
: to move on rollers or wheels
rolled the patient into the operating room
b
: to cause to begin operating or moving
roll the cameras
5
a
: to sound with a full reverberating tone
rolled out the words
b
: to make a continuous beating sound upon : sound a roll upon
rolled their drums
c
: to utter with a trill
rolled his r's
d
: to play (a chord) in arpeggio style
6
: to combine so as to comprise one entity
usually used in the phrase rolled into one
a shopping center, amusement park, and nightclub all rolled into one
7
: to rob (a drunk, sleeping, or unconscious person) usually by going through the pockets
broadly : rob
8

intransitive verb

1
a
: to move along a surface by rotation without sliding
b(1)
: to turn over and over
the children rolled in the grass
(2)
: to luxuriate in an abundant supply : wallow
fairly rolling in money
2
a
: to move onward or around as if by completing a revolution : elapse, pass
the months roll on
b
: to shift the gaze continually
eyes rolling in terror
c
: to revolve on an axis
3
: to move about : roam, wander
4
a
: to go forward in an easy, gentle, or undulating manner
the waves rolled in
b
: to flow in a continuous stream : pour
money was rolling in
c
: to flow as part of a stream of words or sounds
the names roll off your tongue
d
: to have an undulating contour
rolling prairie
e
: to lie extended : stretch
5
a
: to travel in a vehicle
rolling north on the highway
b
: to become carried on a stream
c
: to move on wheels
6
a
: to make a deep reverberating sound
the thunder rolls
b
: trill
7
a
: to swing from side to side
the ship heaved and rolled
b
: to walk with a swinging gait : sway
8
a
: to take the form of a cylinder or ball
b
: to respond to rolling in a specified way
9
a
: to get underway : begin to move or operate
b
: to move forward : develop and maintain impetus
the project finally got rolling
especially : to proceed or progress with notable ease or success
the team was rolling
10
: to execute a somersault
11
of a football quarterback : to run toward one flank usually parallel to the line of scrimmage especially before throwing a pass
often used with out

roll

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
a
: a sound produced by rapid strokes on a drum
b
: a sonorous and often rhythmical flow of speech
c
: a heavy reverberatory sound
the roll of cannon
2
: a rolling movement or an action or process involving such movement
a roll of the dice
an airplane's takeoff roll
: such as
a
: a swaying movement of the body
b
: a side-to-side movement (as of a ship or train)
c(1)
: a flight maneuver in which a complete revolution about the longitudinal axis of an airplane is made with the horizontal direction of flight being approximately maintained
(2)
: the motion of an aircraft or spacecraft about its longitudinal axis
d
: a somersault executed in contact with the ground
Phrases
roll the bones
: to shoot craps
roll the dice
: to assume a risk by taking action
rolled the dice when they bought those stocks
roll with the punches
1
: to move so as to lessen the impact of blows
2
: to adjust to things as they happen
on a roll
: in the midst of a series of successes : on a hot streak
sometimes used with a modifier
has been on a brilliant roll

Examples of roll in a Sentence

Verb The children rolled down the hill. The ball rolled slowly to a stop. Roll the chicken wings in the batter. The paramedics rolled him onto the gurney. The car rolled slowly to a stop. A police car rolled up next to us. The children rolled the toy car to each other. The patient was rolled into the emergency room. The fog soon rolled away.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The player placed a $25 per-line bet on each winning roll. James Powel, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2024 Plus, the clear ring has colorful beads for baby to shake, rattle, and roll. Maya Polton, Parents, 29 Mar. 2024 One employer owned an Auntie Anne’s and a Cinnabon and believed selling pretzels and cinnamon rolls qualified them for the controversial bakery exemption. Calmatters, Orange County Register, 29 Mar. 2024 Both siblings wore matching blue-and-white checkerboard pajamas, which featured smiley faces and rock n' roll tongues. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 28 Mar. 2024 The camera comes with four rolls of thermal paper (film) to take more than 250 pictures, four markers and two sticker sheets to decorate photos, and a wrist strap to keep the camera close by. Alesandra Dubin, Parents, 20 Mar. 2024 The previous day, Barnett had been on a roll as a video camera recorded the event. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 16 Mar. 2024 Traffic on a California highway was clogged after a truck carrying toilet paper rolls spilled. Sarah Rumpf-Whitten, Fox News, 13 Mar. 2024 Despite contentions to the contrary, however, there is little evidence of widespread voter fraud and the same federal laws that require accurate voter rolls also require that steps are taken not to disenfranchise voters. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 13 Mar. 2024
Verb
The workers take care in rolling several of the carts into grids marked with blue tape on the concrete floor. Angela Palermo, Idaho Statesman, 3 Apr. 2024 Cameron Knight With severe weather rolling into the Cincinnati area, power outages could occur due to high winds. The Enquirer, 2 Apr. 2024 Heavy clouds rolled overhead, clearing out the day’s humidity in Sri Lanka’s central highlands. Erin Vivid Riley, Travel + Leisure, 1 Apr. 2024 Children roll colorful eggs using wooden spoons across the White House's South Lawn in the longstanding tradition. Kaia Hubbard, CBS News, 1 Apr. 2024 Multiple storms to roll through Indiana Central and southern Indiana will see showers and storms rolling through the state into the evening. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Apr. 2024 The line never was going to be rolling by the time the new, 11,500-seat stadium opens next spring, but the 2025 season seemed likely. Mike Hendricks, Kansas City Star, 30 Mar. 2024 Just be sure to actually roll it—as opposed to stopping at one spot—or use it with a barrier (say, a light cloth) to avoid any burning sensations. Kirsten Nunez, SELF, 29 Mar. 2024 In other states, such as Georgia, the group is seeking to build Democratic power in red legislatures to get the ball rolling for future majority control. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English rolle, from Anglo-French roule, rolle, from Medieval Latin rolla, alteration of rotula, from Latin, diminutive of rota wheel; akin to Old High German rad wheel, Welsh rhod, Sanskrit ratha wagon

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French rouler, roller, from roele wheel, rowel & roule roll

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun (2)

1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

Time Traveler
The first known use of roll was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near roll

Cite this Entry

“Roll.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/roll. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

roll

1 of 3 noun
1
a
: a written document that may be rolled up : scroll
b
: an official list of names
the voter rolls
2
a
: something or a quantity of something that is rolled up or rounded as if rolled
rolls of fat
b
: a small piece of baked bread dough
c
: paper money folded or rolled

roll

2 of 3 verb
1
: to move or cause to move by turning over and over on a surface without sliding
2
a
: to put a wrapping around
b
: to form into a ball or roll
3
: to make smooth, even, or firm with or as if with a roller
4
a
: to move on rollers or wheels
b
: to begin or cause to begin operating or moving
roll the cameras
let's get rolling
5
: to sound with a full echoing tone or with a continuous beating sound
roll a drum
thunder rolled
6
: to have an abundant supply
rolling in money
7
a
: to move onward or around as if on a wheel or scroll
the days roll by
lines rolling off the screen of a computer
b
: to rotate on an axis
8
: to flow in a continuous stream
money was rolling in
9
: to move with a side-to-side sway : rock

roll

3 of 3 noun
1
a
: a sound produced by rapid strokes on a drum
b
: a heavy echoing sound
the roll of thunder
2
: a rolling movement or an action involving such movement

Legal Definition

roll

noun
1
: a document containing an official record
2
: an official list
the public relief rolls
: as
a
: a list of members of a legislative body
the clerk called the roll and recorded the votes
b
: a list of practitioners in a court or the courts of a state
usually used in pl.
c
: a record kept by an authorized official of persons or property or both that are subject to taxation

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