wheel

noun, often attributive
\ ˈhwēl How to pronounce wheel (audio) , ˈwēl\

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

wheel

verb
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

Noun

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

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wheel

Noun

wheelless \ ˈhwēl-​ləs How to pronounce wheelless (audio) , ˈwēl-​ \ 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

The rise of Uber and other similar companies has also caused tensions to flare between the city’s taxi drivers and the newcomers behind the wheel. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "New York City passes nation’s first minimum pay rate for Uber and Lyft drivers," 5 Dec. 2018 The Uber robotic car had a human safety driver behind the wheel, but that wasn’t enough to prevent its lethal accident in March. Michael Liedtke, The Seattle Times, "Google’s robotic spinoff launches ride-hailing service," 5 Dec. 2018 Even at 92, Queen Elizabeth is known to get behind the wheel on occasion. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Do Prince William and Prince Harry Drive Themselves to Parties?," 16 Nov. 2018 The fantastic four, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle were just spotted pulling up to Buckingham Palace in their invdividual cars (princes behind the wheel) with no kids in sight. Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Wears Barbie Pink Dress for Prince Charles' 70th Birthday," 14 Nov. 2018 Most people will be driving, according to AAA, with 48.5 million getting behind the wheel. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Number of Thanksgiving Travelers Is Way Up This Year," 8 Nov. 2018 Several activists got behind the wheel, but to galvanize support, al-Sharif videotaped her drive and posted it on YouTube. Michele Aboud, Glamour, "Saudi Arabia Was the Last Place in the World to Allow Women to Drive. Manal al-Sharif Helped Change That.," 5 Nov. 2018 Police said the driver apparently fell asleep behind wheel. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Police: NB Central Parkway shut down after driver falls asleep, crashes into pole," 11 July 2018 The man who appeared interested in buying the car got behind the wheel, then pulled over and got into an argument with the owner, Heims said in a statement. Pauline Repard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Car test drive turns into robbery, attack in Egger Highlands," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hair tools drone on like white noise machines, a rack of sequined clothes is wheeled in, music that can be best described as reggae-ish? Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Bethenny Frankel Doesn't Need to Be Thanked. But She Wouldn't Mind a Little Gratitude From President Trump.," 14 Sep. 2018 Paramedics wheel in the 70-year-old on a stretcher and help him sit on the edge of a bed. Eliezer J. Sternberg, Discover Magazine, "The Man Who Lost His Language Overnight," 17 Aug. 2018 Alternatively, the Osprey can carry up to 12,500 pounds in an external slung load, including artillery, wheeled vehicles, and supplies. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "V-22 Osprey: The Story of the Revolutionary Tiltrotor Aircraft," 8 Feb. 2019 Now Bottura is having some fun leaning in to those cultural stereotypes from afar, offering Dubai diners bowls of pasta in sizes S-XL, and wheeling a gelato cart across sand imported from Rimini. Adam Robb, Condé Nast Traveler, "Behind the Scenes at Massimo Bottura's New Dubai Restaurant," 27 Dec. 2018 He was wheeled into the angiography suite, and a catheter was inserted into an artery at 10:56. Thomas M. Burton, WSJ, "Hospitals Rush to Offer New Stroke Treatment," 26 Dec. 2018 Brendon Hartley's miserable weekend continued as his Toro Rosso was wheeled back early. Ciaran Fahey, chicagotribune.com, "Sebastian Vettel wins British Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton recovers to finish second," 8 July 2018 Then he was wheeled into that York courtroom where the families waited to see him. Andrew Dys, charlotteobserver, "Surviving officers, accused shooter meet in SC courtroom for hearing," 17 Mar. 2018 Duane, along with a couple nurses, took Alyssa downstairs in a wheelchair — but instead of greeting Betty in the lobby, Duane wheeled Alyssa to a waiting car outside being driven by her mom. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Minnesota Teen's Family Alleges She Was "Medically Kidnapped" By Mayo Clinic," 14 Aug. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of wheel

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for wheel

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wheel

Statistics for wheel

Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wheel

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wheel

wheel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wheel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of the round parts underneath a car, wagon, etc., that rolls and allows something to move
: a hard, round object that turns and causes machinery or a mechanical device to move
: something that is round like a wheel or that turns like a wheel

wheel

verb

English Language Learners Definition of wheel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move (someone or something) on a vehicle that has wheels
: to push (something) that has wheels on it
: to turn quickly and face a different direction

wheel

noun
\ 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

wheel

verb
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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wheel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wheel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wheel

Spanish Central: Translation of wheel

Nglish: Translation of wheel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wheel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wheel

Comments on wheel

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to boil down or concentrate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!