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)
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

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Other Words from wheel


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The best kinds slide on wheels or gliders, meaning nothing is going missing in the dark abyss that is that back corner. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "A Designer Trick for Maxing Out Kitchen Cabinet Storage," 11 Sep. 2019 Before storing away the mower for the season, use a damp cloth to wipe down the engine housing, wheels, handle, and top of the mowing deck. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower Before You Stow It Away," 11 Sep. 2019 Vermont specialty cheddar maker Grafton Village Cheese Company makes a clothbound cheddar, where the cow’s milk cheese is formed into a wheel, wrapped in cheesecloth, and carefully aged for eight to 12 months. BostonGlobe.com, "Cheesecloth-wrapped cheddar is bound to have flavor - The Boston Globe," 10 Sep. 2019 The repurposed bicycle wheels, donations from Ohio City Bike Co-op, shone bright in the autumn sun. cleveland.com, "Large crowd enjoys shopping, entertainment at Berea Arts Fest," 9 Sep. 2019 Narcisse set up on the left side of the formation and received a lateral from quarterback Frank Harris, who took off downfield and toward the opposite sideline on a wheel route. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "Frank Harris continues to shine as UTSA holds open practice," 17 Aug. 2019 But with Quentin Tarantino behind the camera and Brad Pitt behind the wheel, she was secretly terrified. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, "Margaret Qualley knows Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a 'once-in-a-lifetime experience'," 27 July 2019 Once those wheels are in motion, plaintiffs may seek a temporary restraining order to immediately block the president from using any funds to build a wall. Washington Post, "Can Trump’s Wall `Emergency’ Stand Up in Court?: QuickTake," 18 Sep. 2019 During the event, those in the wheel hang out on their boats all weekend, eating and sleeping. USA TODAY, "Fugitive pig, proverb library, sodium warnings: News from around our 50 states," 16 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Riverbend’s owners converted it into an outdoor wedding venue with overnight lodging — tiny homes that can be wheeled away in case of another flood. Washington Post, "Mobile home dwellers left behind after 2013 Colorado floods," 17 Sep. 2019 But the free-wheeling culture has led to a rash of problems for Google management in recent years. Gerrit De Vynck, The Mercury News, "Google doesn’t want employees debating politics at work," 23 Aug. 2019 During enforcement times, no one can drive, ride or park wheeled vehicles in the zones. Molly Bohannon, azcentral, "ASU students, here's what you need to know about biking in Tempe," 13 Aug. 2019 The wall strikes me as a decidedly theatrical element, as makeshift as any that could be wheeled out onto a stage. Nicole Rudick, The New Yorker, "How “Peanuts” Created a Space for Thinking," 6 Aug. 2019 Look for bar snacks, salads and sandwiches as well as local beers and large-format drinks wheeled out in water coolers. Grace Wong, chicagotribune.com, "Dirty Root brings customizable, nutrient-dense bowls to West Loop, plus more restaurant news," 21 June 2019 The afternoon violence came after government officials delayed the opening of debate on the bill, which has drawn the ire of students and others in the economically free-wheeling city of more than 7 million people. Elizabeth Lawrence, USA TODAY, "Hong Kong police fire tear gas, projectiles as protests over extradition bill escalate," 12 June 2019 Paramedics raced Cantu to Akron Children’s Hospital, where doctors immediately wheeled him into an operating room. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Brecksville-Broadview Heights graduate, paralyzed in accident eight years ago, accelerates on road to recovery (first of two articles)," 19 Aug. 2019 There weren’t enough stretchers to move her out, so Grady and his wife lifted her body onto a Walmart shopping cart used for oversized items and wheeled her out to an ambulance. Los Angeles Times, "As his daughter lay in a pool of blood in an El Paso Walmart, a pastor held fast to his faith," 6 Aug. 2019

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

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for wheel

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

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More Definitions for wheel


How to pronounce wheel (audio)

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 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wheel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wheel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


an agreement to stop fighting a war

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