wheel

1 of 2

noun

plural wheels
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
c
: any of many revolving disks or drums used as gambling paraphernalia
e
: steering wheel
… drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel and remain attentive …Emily Dreibelbis
see also behind the wheel
3
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
6
a
: 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
8
a
: a circuit of theaters or places of entertainment
b
: a sports league
9
wheels plural, slang : a wheeled vehicle
especially : car, automobile
"Man, you got to get yourself some new wheels. When I get to college, I'm gonna get me a white Nissan Sentra …" Darcy Frey
10
wheels plural, slang : legs
wheelless adjective

Illustration of wheel

Illustration of wheel
  • 1 hub
  • 2 spoke
  • 3 felly
  • 4 tire

wheel

2 of 2

verb

wheeled; wheeling; wheels

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 flankWalter Bernstein
her mind will wheel around to the other extremeLiam 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 rowsWilliam 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
Phrases
wheel and deal
: to make deals or do business especially shrewdly or briskly

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 result is a beautiful, elaborate diagram that looks more like a wheel than a tree. Richard Grant, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Feb. 2024 International arbitration is one of those elaborate little wheels in the global financial system that spin constantly in the background without anybody hearing the sound. Jesse Barron, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024 Spufford has a sure grasp of the perverted politics and relentless grind of the wheels of capitalism, circa 1922. Mary Ann Gwinn, Los Angeles Times, 8 Feb. 2024 On Wednesday, Donna, 71, was a special guest on The Price is Right's Super Bowl special, joining host Drew Carey to spin the iconic wheel ahead of Sunday's big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas. Becca Longmire, Peoplemag, 8 Feb. 2024 And if Maxim’s $1 million weekend isn’t in the budget, Guy Fieri is hosting a free tailgate near the Strip’s giant ferris wheel. Rio Yamat, Fortune, 8 Feb. 2024 The ball is moved by passing and running, except a run is moving the ball along on wheels. Chris Ochsner, Kansas City Star, 8 Feb. 2024 And if Maxim's $1 million weekend isn't in the budget, Guy Fieri is hosting a free tailgate near the Strip’s giant ferris wheel. Rio Yamat, Quartz, 7 Feb. 2024 If kitchen space is a concern for you, consider this portable kitchen island countertop and storage unit on wheels! Hannah Rice, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2024
Verb
After the Super Bowl, as players celebrate in the blizzard of confetti, a massive stage is wheeled onto the field for the trophy presentation. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2024 After the University of Maryland Medical Center’s ethics advisory committee had approved Eileen’s decision to donate another organ to her mom, the pair were wheeled into adjoining operating rooms on Dec. 19 for the four-hour transplant. Cathy Free, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2024 Entrees are wheeled out on carts and certain dishes are prepared tableside. Malcolm Mayhew, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024 Of course, ankle boots and distressed denim were wheeled out again, but what fashion journo hasn’t repeated themselves when writing their fifth story of the week on Hailey Bieber’s style? Joy Montgomery, Vogue, 23 Jan. 2024 Her husband, Ryan Scott Anderson, was nearby, wheeling a large suitcase towards his car. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 28 Dec. 2023 It was wheeled outside and dropped off in a nearby stream. Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 1 Jan. 2024 This bag can now be found, zipped up and resting on a shelf in my bedroom closet, ready to be wheeled out if the need arises. Ayurella Horn-Muller, The Atlantic, 30 Dec. 2023 If this stuff is comfort food, publishers seemed eager to wheel us into triple-bypass surgery. Boris Kachka, Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wheel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near wheel

Cite this Entry

“Wheel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wheel. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

wheel

1 of 2 noun
ˈhwē(ə)l How to pronounce wheel (audio)
ˈwē(ə)l
1
: a disk or circular frame turning on a central point
2
: a device (as a bicycle or potter's wheel) whose main part is a wheel
3
: something resembling a wheel (as in being round)
a wheel of cheese
4
: a curving or circular movement
5
: a moving or essential part of something compared to a machine
the wheels of government
6
: a person of importance
he was a big wheel in town
7
plural, slang : automobile
he borrowed my wheels for an upcoming date
wheeled
ˈhwē(ə)ld
ˈwē(ə)ld
adjective

wheel

2 of 2 verb
1
: to turn on or as if on a central point : revolve
2
: to change direction as if turning on a central point
wheeled about to face her opponent
3
: to move in a circle or curve
4
: to carry or move on wheels or in a vehicle
wheel a load into the barn

More from Merriam-Webster on wheel

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