noun \ˈrōl\

Definition of roll

  1. 1a (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 bookb :  a list of names or related items :  catalogc :  an official list the voter rolls: such as (1) :  muster roll (2) :  a list of members of a school or class or of members of a legislative body

  2. 2 :  something that is rolled up into a cylinder or ball or rounded as if rolled rolls of fat: such asa :  a quantity (as of fabric or paper) rolled up to form a single packageb :  a hairdo in which some or all of the hair is rolled or curled up or underc :  any of various food preparations rolled up for cooking or serving cabbage rolls; especially :  a small piece of baked yeast doughd :  a cylindrical twist of tobaccoe :  a roll of paper on which music for a player piano is recorded in perforations which actuate the keysf :  a flexible case (as of leather) in which articles may be rolled and fastened by straps or clasps jewelry rollg (1) :  paper money folded or rolled into a wad (2) slang :  bankroll

  3. 3 :  something that performs a rolling action or movement :  roller

  4. 4 :  a wheel for making decorative lines on book covers; also :  a design impressed by such a tool

Origin and Etymology of roll

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

First Known Use: 13th century




Definition of roll

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to impel forward by causing to turn over and over on a surfaceb :  to cause to revolve by turning over and over on or as if on an axisc :  to cause to move in a circular manner they rolled their eyes at the absurdityd :  to form into a mass by turning over and overe :  to impel forward with an easy continuous motionf :  to cause to move in a given direction by or as if by turning a crank rolled down the window

  3. 2a :  to put a wrapping around :  enfold, envelopb :  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

  4. 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

  5. 4a :  to move on rollers or wheels rolled the patient into the operating roomb :  to cause to begin operating or moving roll the cameras

  6. 5a :  to sound with a full reverberating tone rolled out the wordsb :  to make a continuous beating sound upon :  sound a roll upon rolled their drumsc :  to utter with a trill rolled his r'sd :  to play (a chord) in arpeggio style

  7. 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

  8. 7 :  to rob (a drunk, sleeping, or unconscious person) usually by going through the pockets; broadly :  rob

  9. 8 :  bowl 1

  10. intransitive verb
  11. 1a :  to move along a surface by rotation without slidingb (1) :  to turn over and over the children rolled in the grass (2) :  to luxuriate in an abundant supply :  wallow fairly rolling in money

  12. 2a :  to move onward or around as if by completing a revolution :  elapse, pass the months roll onb :  to shift the gaze continually eyes rolling in terrorc :  to revolve on an axis

  13. 3 :  to move about :  roam, wander

  14. 4a :  to go forward in an easy, gentle, or undulating manner the waves rolled inb :  to flow in a continuous stream :  pour money was rolling inc :  to flow as part of a stream of words or sounds the names roll off your tongued :  to have an undulating contour rolling prairiee :  to lie extended :  stretch

  15. 5a :  to travel in a vehicle rolling north on the highwayb :  to become carried on a streamc :  to move on wheels

  16. 6a :  to make a deep reverberating sound the thunder rollsb :  trill

  17. 7a :  to swing from side to side the ship heaved and rolledb :  to walk with a swinging gait :  sway

  18. 8a :  to take the form of a cylinder or ballb :  to respond to rolling in a specified way

  19. 9a :  to get under way :  begin to move or operateb :  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

  20. 10 :  to execute a somersault

  21. 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 the bones

  1. :  to shoot craps

roll the dice

  1. :  to assume a risk by taking action rolled the dice when they bought those stocks

roll with the punches

  1. 1 :  to move so as to lessen the impact of blows

  2. 2 :  to adjust to things as they happen

Examples of roll in a sentence

  1. The children rolled down the hill.

  2. The ball rolled slowly to a stop.

  3. Roll the chicken wings in the batter.

  4. The paramedics rolled him onto the gurney.

  5. The car rolled slowly to a stop.

  6. A police car rolled up next to us.

  7. The children rolled the toy car to each other.

  8. The patient was rolled into the emergency room.

  9. The fog soon rolled away.

Origin and Etymology of roll

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

First Known Use: 14th century




Definition of roll

  1. 1a :  a sound produced by rapid strokes on a drumb :  a sonorous and often rhythmical flow of speechc :  a heavy reverberatory sound the roll of cannon

  2. 2 :  a rolling movement or an action or process involving such movement a roll of the dice an airplane's takeoff roll: such asa :  a swaying movement of the bodyb :  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 axisd :  a somersault executed in contact with the ground

on a roll

  1. :  in the midst of a series of successes :  on a hot streak —sometimes used with a modifier has been on a brilliant roll


First Known Use of roll


ROLL Defined for English Language Learners




Definition of roll for English Language Learners

  • : to move across the ground or another surface by turning over and over

  • : to turn over one or more times

  • : to move smoothly on wheels

ROLL Defined for Kids



verb \ˈrōl\

Definition of roll for Students




  1. 1 :  to move or cause to move by turning over and over on a surface The ball rolled away.

  2. 2 :  to shape or become shaped in rounded form She rolls the dough to make cookies.

  3. 3 :  to sound with a full echoing tone or with a continuous beating sound rolling thunder

  4. 4 :  to flow in or as if in a continuous stream Tears came rolling. The day I had waited for so long had turned … ugly. — Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows

  5. 5 :  to move or cause to move in a circular manner She rolled her eyes. He rolled over on his back.

  6. 6 :  to go by :  pass Time rolled by.

  7. 7 :  to move with a side-to-side sway The ship rolled.

  8. 8 :  to make smooth, even, or firm with a roller He rolls out the dough.

  9. 9 :  to move on rollers or wheels

roll around

  1. :  to happen again We'll go when Friday rolls around.




Definition of roll for Students

  1. 1 :  something or a quantity of something that is rolled up or rounded as if rolled a roll of tape

  2. 2 :  a small piece of baked bread dough

  3. 3 :  a writing that may be rolled up :  scroll

  4. 4 :  an official list of names




Definition of roll for Students

  1. 1 :  a sound produced by rapid strokes on a drum

  2. 2 :  a heavy echoing sound the roll of thunder

  3. 3 :  a movement or action that involves turning over and over or circling around

Law Dictionary



Legal Definition of roll

  1. 1 :  a document containing an official record

  2. 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 plural c :  a record kept by an authorized official of persons or property or both that are subject to taxation

Seen and Heard

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


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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