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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An interesting confluence of man and machine, sure, but why not just throw some vessels on a pottery wheel as ceramists have done for millennia? Helena Madden, Robb Report, 11 Sep. 2021 Typically, organizers set up roads emanating like spokes on a wheel from a circular patch of playa at the center of the event. Katie Bain, Billboard, 10 Sep. 2021 Further, Tesla drivers now must keep both hands on the wheel when using Autopilot. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 30 Aug. 2021 But like Autopilot and other F.S.D. services, the beta calls for drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and take control of the car when needed. New York Times, 20 Aug. 2021 Photograph by Ron Foster Since the previous day, the lava river seemed to have widened and the crater had been sculpted, by its own convulsions, into a new shape, like a clay pot on a wheel. Heidi Julavit, The New Yorker, 16 Aug. 2021 Though character development can sometimes feel trapped on a hamster wheel, there are plenty of relationship-status comings and goings to keep things moving forward. NBC News, 8 Aug. 2021 So far, the trailers only show baddies behind the wheel of the various Land Rovers. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 2 Sep. 2021 But the 17-year-old behind the wheel of the Chevrolet rode around the squad car, and officers pursued the suspect heading east toward Kenwood Avenue. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 1 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But at age 66, the Aurora native can still wheel it around the track. Tony Baranek, chicagotribune.com, 21 Aug. 2021 The car should have right front headlight damage as well as right front quarter panel and wheel well damage, state police said. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, 30 July 2021 Given enough consequence-free asphalt, our little blue tester could bolt to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds; eat quarter-miles in 11-second bites; wheel through corners with 1 G of side-loading acceleration; and touch 174 mph. Dan Neil, WSJ, 12 June 2021 For President Gersson Rosas, always one to wheel and deal, having a pick now doesn't mean the Wolves' cupboard will still be bare in a few weeks. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, 6 July 2021 Two-hundred-year-old wagon wheel ruts from the trail are still visible at the fort, which was decommissioned after the arrival of the railroad. Washington Post, 18 June 2021 Nemechek showcased his natural ability to wheel a racecar in 2020, earning three top 10s and having an average finish of 22.4. Joseph Wolkin, Forbes, 17 June 2021 One balcony gardener suggested filling a large pail once a week in the tub and using a small wagon or dolly to wheel it from the bathtub to the patio. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2021 The inquiry also found that Zilber sometimes required his judicial assistant, who was pregnant, to wheel his chair up several floors and then lift it onto the dais in his courtroom before hearings. David Williams, CNN, 18 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for wheel

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wheel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wheel. Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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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



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.

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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