wheel

1 of 2

noun

often attributive
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
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 : automobile
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 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
Phrases
wheel and deal
: to make deals or do business especially shrewdly or briskly

Example Sentences

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
But most people are spending too much time slouching at your desks, behind the wheel, on the couch, wherever, hunching over while looking down at their phones. Milo F. Bryant, Men's Health, 1 Dec. 2022 People getting behind the wheel or boarding a plane don’t seem fazed by higher gasoline and airfare prices than last year or the widespread concern about inflation and the economy. David Koenig And Alexandra Olson, Chicago Tribune, 24 Nov. 2022 People getting behind the wheel or boarding a plane don’t seem fazed by higher gasoline and airfare prices than last year or the widespread concern about inflation and the economy. David Koenig, Fortune, 22 Nov. 2022 Drivers in San Diego supposedly create nearly double the greenhouse gases compared to Angelinos behind the wheel. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2022 Does the storied legacy of McLaren add any pressure for you behind the wheel? Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 20 Nov. 2022 Jordan died in a car accident in Hollywood last month after suffering a medical emergency behind the wheel. Emlyn Travis, EW.com, 19 Nov. 2022 Dempsey vows to get behind the wheel again in 2023. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 17 Nov. 2022 Hanan Mazouzi Sobati is one of the few women behind the wheel at the event. Maheshpreet Kaur Narula, CNN, 16 Nov. 2022
Verb
The series was made up of four classes, each based on parameters such as displacement, weight and wheel width, with rules that exercised few restrictions on technology, design or materials. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 10 Oct. 2022 Moretti's furious and forces Grace to help him wheel Vega out of the hospital to continue the interrogation elsewhere. Sara Netzley, EW.com, 4 Oct. 2022 Late on his last day as a DEA agent, Joe Rannazzisi grabbed a mailroom cart to wheel a few boxes of personal belongings to his Ford Excursion. Sari Horwitz, Washington Post, 7 July 2022 The podiatrist’s note did not appear to discourage one committee member, Representative Liz Cheney, who volunteered to hoist Trump onto a luggage trolley and wheel him into the hearing room. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, 14 Oct. 2022 But my Great-Grandfather ignored her and motioned for his wife to wheel next to him. Simon Rich, The New Yorker, 29 Aug. 2022 Each day Clint would wheel her down to the NICU so the three could be together. Michelle Boudin, PEOPLE.com, 27 July 2022 Every futility player the Reds wheel into town makes the already painful truth more painful. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 5 May 2022 Though Faylynn was in fragile condition, the staff was able to wheel her incubator into Brittany's room. Michelle Boudin, PEOPLE.com, 27 July 2022 See More

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.

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 4 Dec. 2022.

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
wheel and deal
: to make deals or do business especially in a clever or energetic manner

More from Merriam-Webster on wheel

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