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)
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 wheelless (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 The coalition also wants to put all income groups behind the wheel of EVs. Anne C. Mulkern, Scientific American, "Los Angeles Accelerates Efforts to Electrify Its Infamous Traffic," 30 July 2020 Mercedes-AMG has released a first look at the top-of-the-line GT Black Series rear-wheel-drive sports car starring automotive YouTuber Shmee150. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, "Watch Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series on Track before Its Official Debut," 9 July 2020 But one with recent woes to wheel and wing and a 6-5, 245-pound frame that's endured more than its fair share of punishment? Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Nine reasons why New England Patriots won't win Super Bowl LV with Cam Newton," 30 June 2020 The steering is fast and precise, delivering plenty of road feel to a thick Race-Tex wrapped wheel. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Fast, sleek 2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS coupe spices up SUV race with handling, comfort, tech," 30 June 2020 The Huracán is the only Lamborghini currently offered with rear-wheel-drive. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "This entry-level Lamborghini offers more fun for a lot less money," 19 June 2020 The full-time AWD system in 2021s is enhanced and can apply brake pressure to a single wheel to improve cornering. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "2021 Nissan Rogue gets makeover, tech updates," 16 June 2020 Ari Gershman had taken his son to the Tahoe National Forest for an off-roading trip in a new four-wheel-drive Jeep, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "California police detail chaotic arrest in shooting that led boy, 15, to hide in wilderness for 30 hours," 10 July 2020 Dozens of hiking and four-wheel trails lead back into the wilderness. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "These Are the Best Spots for Hiking and Camping in Alaska, According to a Professional Traveler Who Quarantined There," 10 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the Zoom desktop app, click the settings wheel in the upper right corner of the app to access your account settings. Alan Henry, Wired, "How to Automatically Mute Yourself in Zoom Meetings," 13 July 2020 Coulson then took the shots from Sousa’s real assassin and took a dive in the pool — long enough for Daisy and Simmons to show up disguised as medics and wheel him out of there. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap: The death and life of Agent Sousa," 18 June 2020 Fully adjustable and easy to wheel around from room to room, the RoomyRoc eliminates the need for a big standalone desk, giving you options and convenience without taking up large amounts of space. Popular Science, "Essential laptop accessories that make working way more comfortable," 16 June 2020 Internal records show the team had a simple plan: overwhelm Garcia, handcuff him, put him in a restraint chair and wheel him into a safety cell a few feet away. Thalia Beaty, ProPublica, "Somebody’s Gotta Help Me”," 16 June 2020 Employees saw the man, 39, walk into the store and load three large LED bathroom light sets valued at $830 onto a cart, then wheel it to the customer service desk, seeking to exchange them for cash. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Never-on-Sunday serial shoplifter caught: Bainbridge Township Police Blotter," 15 June 2020 Over dystopian scenes of people being wheeled on gurneys, filling out unemployment-insurance forms and standing in long lines while wearing surgical masks, lachrymose string music plays. Jason Zengerle, New York Times, "This Anti-Trump Ad Is Just the Beginning of a Narrative Free-for-All," 27 May 2020 Then, on a particularly warm, sunny day, workers at the home wheeled Craig into the backyard so Pedersen could see him for a moment. Jennifer Smith Richards, ProPublica, "More Than 1 in 5 Illinoisans Living in State Homes for Adults With Disabilities Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus," 22 May 2020 This wheeled, sweeping and lifting motion created a successful crawling motion for the rover, even when one of its limbs was intentionally disabled. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "'Mini Rover' can wiggle and crawl its way across tricky terrain on other planets," 13 May 2020

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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Statistics for wheel

Last Updated

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wheel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wheel. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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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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