rotate

adjective
ro·​tate | \ ˈrō-ˌtāt How to pronounce rotate (audio) \

Definition of rotate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having the parts flat and spreading or radiating like the spokes of a wheel rotate blue flowers

rotate

verb
ro·​tate | \ ˈrō-ˌtāt How to pronounce rotate (audio) , especially British rō-ˈtāt\
rotated; rotating

Definition of rotate (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to perform an act, function, or operation in turn
b : to pass or alternate in a series
2 : to turn about an axis or a center : revolve especially : to move in such a way that all particles follow circles with a common angular velocity about a common axis

transitive verb

1a : to cause to turn or move about an axis or a center
b : to cause (a plane region or line) to sweep out a volume or surface by moving around an axis so that each of its points remains at a constant distance from the axis generate a torus by rotating a circle about an external line
2 : to cause to grow in rotation rotate crops
3 : to cause to pass or act in a series : alternate
4 : to exchange (individuals or units) with others

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from rotate

Verb

rotatable \ ˈrō-​ˌtā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce rotatable (audio) also  rō-​ˈtā-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for rotate

Synonyms: Verb

pivot, revolve, roll, spin, swing, swirl, swivel, turn, twirl, twist, wheel, whirl

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of rotate in a Sentence

Verb

As the gear rotates, it turns the other gears. The Earth rotates on its axis. The planets rotate around the sun. The software allows you to rotate images. Rotate the sheet of paper 90 degrees. The staff rotates the weekend shift. We rotate—she does the dishes one week; I do them the next. You should rotate your car's tires once a year.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Rotate pie plate about 15° (if the top of the pie is the 12 o’clock mark, turn it to 2 o’clock). Rick Martinez, Bon Appetit, "BA's Best Blueberry Pie," 10 July 2017 Rotate steaks 45 degrees and cook another 2 minutes. Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Grilled Kansas City Strip Steaks," 3 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the Ravens benefited from rotating their top cornerbacks the last two seasons, and that cushion is gone with Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young sidelined by injuries. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens snap count analysis from Week 2 win over Cardinals: Marquise Brown’s workload jumps," 17 Sep. 2019 Wu’s presence onscreen—impetuous, possessive, pugilistic, winsome—quickly made her character the axle around which the other family members rotate. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Constance Wu’s Hollywood Destiny," 16 Sep. 2019 This way the outside wheel can cover more distance while rotating at the same rate. Svenja Lohner, Scientific American, "Train Wheel Science," 12 Sep. 2019 Starting freshman Jakai Clark at right guard and moving DJ Scaife to right tackle while John Campbell rotated in coming off the bench. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, "Miami Hurricanes can’t concern themselves with historically bad start as they move on from UNC loss," 8 Sep. 2019 Indulge in the weekday lunch special of a hot dog, shot and a beer for $5 and look for daily specials rotating throughout the week. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Mill Avenue dive bar Ted's Refreshments opens in downtown Tempe. Here's what's on the menu," 16 Sep. 2019 Weeks later, Engle learned that one of the X-15 pilots on the base, Robert White, was rotating out of the program. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "What it was like to fly the baddest airplane the world has ever known," 16 Sep. 2019 Maybe Lindholm joins that rotating cast of buzzsaws on the fourth line, kills penalties, and chips in a few goals. BostonGlobe.com, "(Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe)," 15 Sep. 2019 The Roadrunners rotate 12 players on the defensive line, and that group will be tested against the Black Knights’ triple-option running attack. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "UTSA preparing for Army’s triple-option onslaught," 13 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rotate.' 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 rotate

Adjective

1760, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1757, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for rotate

Adjective

Latin rota

Verb

Latin rotatus, past participle of rotare, from rota wheel — more at roll

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rotate

Statistics for rotate

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rotate

The first known use of rotate was in 1757

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rotate

rotate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of rotate

: to move or turn in a circle
: to regularly change the person who does a particular job so that all the members of a group do it at different times
: to regularly change the place or position of things or people so that each takes the place of another

rotate

verb
ro·​tate | \ ˈrō-ˌtāt How to pronounce rotate (audio) \
rotated; rotating

Kids Definition of rotate

1 : to turn about an axis or a center
2 : to go from one person to another or others in a cycle The staff rotates working weekends.
3 : to pass in a series The seasons rotate.

rotate

verb
ro·​tate | \ ˈrō-ˌtāt, especially British rō-ˈ\
rotated; rotating

Medical Definition of rotate

intransitive verb

: to turn about an axis or a center

transitive verb

: to cause to turn about an axis or a center rotate the head

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rotate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rotate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rotate

Spanish Central: Translation of rotate

Nglish: Translation of rotate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rotate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rotate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a bell tower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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