1

rowel

noun row·el \ ˈrau̇(-ə)l \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of rowel

: a revolving disk with sharp marginal points at the end of a spur

rowel was our Word of the Day on 08/25/2013. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of rowel

Middle English rowelle, from Anglo-French roele small wheel — more at roulette


2

rowel

verb

Definition of rowel

roweled or rowelled; roweling or rowelling
transitive verb
1 : to goad with or as if with a rowel
2 : vex, trouble

Did You Know?

If you've seen Western movies, you've seen rowels. The noun rowel names the circular, point-covered disk on the end of a spur that is used to urge powerful steeds to maximum speeds. But cowboys didn't invent rowels; knights in shining armor were sporting them even before the 12th century. English speakers of yore picked up the noun rowel from the Anglo-French roele, meaning "small wheel" (roele is also an ancestor of the word roulette). By the end of the 1500s, rowel was also being used as a verb for any process of prodding or goading that was as irritating as being poked in the side with a rowel.

First Known Use of rowel

1566


Learn More about rowel


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a man who seduces many women

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!