noun, often attributive
\ ˈ(h)wēl How to pronounce wheel (audio) \

Definition of wheel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a circular frame of hard material that may be solid, partly solid, or spoked and that is capable of turning on an axle
2 : a contrivance or apparatus having as its principal part a wheel: such as
a : a chiefly medieval instrument of torture designed for mutilating a victim (as by stretching or disjointing)
b : bicycle
c : any of many revolving disks or drums used as gambling paraphernalia
3a : an imaginary turning wheel symbolizing the inconstancy of fortune
b : a recurring course, development, or action : cycle
4 : something (such as a round, flat cheese) resembling a wheel in shape
5a : a curving or circular movement
b : a rotation or turn usually about an axis or center specifically : a turning movement of troops or ships in line in which the units preserve alignment and relative positions as they change direction
6a : a moving or essential part of something compared to a machine the wheels of government
b : a directing or controlling force
c : a person of importance especially in an organization a big wheel
7 : the refrain or burden of a song
8a : a circuit of theaters or places of entertainment
b : a sports league
9 wheels plural, slang : a wheeled vehicle especially : automobile
10 wheels plural, slang : legs


wheeled; wheeling; wheels

Definition of wheel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to turn on or as if on an axis : revolve
2 : to change direction as if revolving on a pivot the battalion would have wheeled to the flank— Walter Bernstein her mind will wheel around to the other extreme— Liam O'Flaherty wheeled to face her opponent
3 : to move or extend in a circle or curve birds in wheeling flight valleys where young cotton wheeled slowly in fanlike rows— William Faulkner
4 : to travel on or as if on wheels or in a wheeled vehicle

transitive verb

1 : to cause to turn on or as if on an axis : rotate
2 : to convey or move on or as if on wheels or in a wheeled vehicle wheeled the patient back to his room wheeled the car into the driveway wheel in the experts
3 : to cause to change direction as if revolving on a pivot
4 : to make or perform in a circle or curve
wheel and deal
: to make deals or do business especially shrewdly or briskly

Illustration of wheel

Illustration of wheel


wheel 1: 1 hub, 2 spoke, 3 felly, 4 tire

In the meaning defined above

Other Words from wheel


wheelless \ ˈ(h)wēl-​ləs How to pronounce wheel (audio) \ adjective

Examples of wheel in a Sentence

Noun The car's rear wheels started to spin on the icy road. the wheels of a train a suitcase with wheels on the bottom a wheel of cheddar cheese Verb Doctors wheeled the patient into the operating room. He wheeled his motorcycle into the garage. Our waiter wheeled out a small dessert cart. She wheeled around in her chair when I entered the room. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If the driver doesn’t take the wheel, the vehicle will slow down and stop if needed. Sam Abuelsamid, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 The driver appeared to be sleeping behind the wheel with the car running, and an officer woke him up, according to a police report. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, 30 July 2022 In the past, Amazon has partnered with major players and ended up throwing away $100 million on a losing health care venture called Haven that tried to reinvent the wheel and failed after three years. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 21 July 2022 Donald Trump's former deputy chief of staff is disputing explosive testimony that the former president tried to grab the wheel of the presidential limo on Jan. 6 to join protestors at the Capitol. Josh Meyer, USA TODAY, 3 July 2022 Trump allegedly tried to fight a secret service agent and literally grab the wheel. Jeneé Osterheldt, BostonGlobe.com, 1 July 2022 The committee came under increasing scrutiny from Trump allies on Wednesday for highlighting Hutchinson’s claims about Trump lunging at a Secret Service officer and trying to grab the wheel of the presidential SUV. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, 30 June 2022 Now, Fletcher will take the wheel due to Shankman's scheduling conflicts with production on another Disney sequel, Disenchanted. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 29 June 2022 President Trump tried to grab the wheel of his limo and assaulted a Secret Service agent in an attempt to reach the Capitol on Jan. 6, aide testifies. Freddy Brewster, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Though Faylynn was in fragile condition, the staff was able to wheel her incubator into Brittany's room. Michelle Boudin, PEOPLE.com, 27 July 2022 On the Friday before the Millville race, teams wheel their cars through the event’s main garage, where Rood, dressed in a judge’s robes and a Hawaiian lei, gives his appraisal. Michael Dobuski, ABC News, 4 July 2022 Great legs and can wheel with the puck in open ice, but needs more presence and finish around the net for such a hefty paycheck. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 16 May 2022 Birds are perched on rocky crags, while others wheel around a tree. Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2021 When a windstorm hits, simply wheel the greenhouse into a garage or shed and wait for the storm to pass. Rachel Center, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Mar. 2022 The 99-day impasse meant Cohen couldn't wheel, nor deal, nor even talk to his new ace, who was a pivotal figure at the negotiating table for the MLB Players' Association. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 13 Mar. 2022 Seagulls wheel overhead as the waters of nearby Muir Creek flow into the Salish Sea. Devon Bidal, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Feb. 2022 United also kicks in meals, and Delta has been known to wheel snack and drink carts through gate areas during delays, but most other carriers make no promises regarding food. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, 4 Nov. 2014 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wheel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of wheel


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for wheel


Middle English, from Old English hweogol, hwēol; akin to Old Norse hvēl wheel, Greek kyklos circle, wheel, Skt cakra, Latin colere to cultivate, inhabit, Sanskrit carati he moves, wanders

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Time Traveler for wheel

Time Traveler

The first known use of wheel was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wheel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wheel. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for wheel


\ ˈhwēl How to pronounce wheel (audio) , ˈwēl \

Kids Definition of wheel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a disk or circular frame that can turn on a central point
2 : something that is round a wheel of cheese
3 : steering wheel His hands tightly gripped the wheel.
4 : something having a wheel as its main part a spinning wheel
5 wheels plural : moving power : necessary parts the wheels of government

Other Words from wheel

wheeled \ ˈhwēld , wēld \ adjective


wheeled; wheeling

Kids Definition of wheel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to carry or move on wheels or in a vehicle with wheels
2 : rotate sense 1 Seagulls wheeled above the boat.
3 : to change direction as if turning on a central point I wheeled and faced them.

More from Merriam-Webster on wheel

Nglish: Translation of wheel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wheel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wheel


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