noun, often attributive
\ ˈhwēl , 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

d : potter's wheel

e : steering wheel

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

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Other words from wheel


wheelless \ˈhwēl-ləs, ˈwēl- \ adjective

Examples of wheel in a Sentence


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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So far, Pininfarina has only shown teaser images of the vehicle, which reveal a low car with the wheels pushed out the corners (a design allowed by using electric motors instead of an engine and driveshafts) and little else. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "Pininfarina's Back With a $2 Million Electric Hypercar," 14 July 2018 The pair crafted it in Boys Noize's Berlin studio, a wonderland of modular gear that'll turn any creative's wheels spinning. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Boys Noize & Virgil Abloh Drop 3-Track Industrial 'Orvnge' EP: Listen," 13 July 2018 He was paid $466 for a wheel, two tires and an alignment. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 2018 Behind the wheel exams are not available on Saturdays. Kathleen Pender, SFChronicle.com, "California DMV will expand Saturday hours to trim interminable waits," 13 July 2018 Aside from that, the pictures don’t tell us much other than that the Y has at least one wheel and is presumably made of matter. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About the Tesla Model Y," 11 July 2018 Four wheels rotate in the gyroscope to provide a reaction that allows the necessarily precision in tracking, and two of the four failed by May 2013. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Stream: Kepler Telescope to Send NASA Its Last Images," 7 July 2018 Another investor, William Barnum of Warren, Oregon, said he was disappointed by how slowly the wheels of justice turn but is glad the four DBSI executives will soon be in prison. John Sowell, idahostatesman, "Four years after their convictions, these 4 Meridian business execs are headed to prison," 6 July 2018 Shane's many other interests included gardening, four wheel trucks, dirt biking, and fishing. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Shane D. Phillips," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And up there with the ship, wheeling slow circles, Bo saw the mechanical whale-like things that had snatched up him and his sister and all the other kids and taken them to the warehouses. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "A transgender girl rises up against alien invaders in Rich Larson’s novel Annex," 8 July 2018 Think back to last week's NASCAR race at Chicagoland Speedway when Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch were going wheel to wheel for the win. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: IndyCar is just too dangerous for nasty rivalries," 7 July 2018 The Lakers would still have more room to wheel and deal around them. Andrew Sharp And Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Why Paul George is the Most Important Free-Agent Domino," 12 June 2018 Ross’s efforts to wheel and deal with the Chinese have left the president unimpressed. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Wilbur Ross, after rocky year, has a tough sell in China next week," 25 May 2018 After the weather warms up, Starks plans to once again wheel the coffin around to various neighborhoods. Jenice Armstrong, Philly.com, "What the heck is a casket doing on a North Philly street?| Jenice Armstrong," 9 Mar. 2018 Pitino, 65, has had time to wheel-and-deal on the South Florida real estate market since October, when the Kentucky school canned him after his program ended up at the heart of yet another college sports scandal. Jose Lambiet, miamiherald, "Fired Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino sells Bal Harbour house | Miami Herald," 5 Feb. 2018 These are great gardens everyone can walk up to, wheel up to, and stand up to and experience gardening life. Michael Walsh, Courant Community, "Community Garden Made Accessible To All Students," 26 June 2018 The nation’s artists arrived in the 1920s, attracted quite possibly as much by the free-wheeling parties as by the fresh air. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "The Martha’s Vineyard of Germany Is Vanishing Into the Sea," 25 June 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.

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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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Statistics for wheel

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wheel

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

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More Definitions for wheel



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



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


\ ˈhwēl , 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.

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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