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)
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 \ ˈhwēl-​ləs How to pronounce wheelless (audio) , ˈwēl-​ \ adjective

Examples of wheel in a Sentence


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


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

Scott said that once a Scout vehicle arrives in your neighborhood, its non-threatening look, down to its rubber wheels and curved exterior, are designed to help the robot blend in to its surroundings. Peter Holley, Washington Post, "Amazon’s autonomous robots have started delivering packages in a new location: Southern California.," 13 Aug. 2019 Directed by Hannah Lux Davis and produced by Brandon Bonfiglio, the music video features Grande and Foster at a luxurious party (Anderson gets to be their third wheel) — and both are trying to play it cool. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Ariana Grande Dramatically Takes Out Her Love Rivals in New 'Boyfriend' Video with Social House," 2 Aug. 2019 Spectators can enjoy this free event while participants show off their wheels. Shiela Johnson, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "North Carroll: 15-year-old Eagle Scout candidate collecting donations for NESAP; bocce results," 31 July 2019 This overkill is marked by the permanent Google Assistant button on the right side of the bottom navigation bar since you could always have activated it by voice or through your steering wheel’s voice command button. Natt Garun, The Verge, "Google has made Android Auto work more like your phone — for better or worse," 30 July 2019 To help prevent theft, the magazine suggests investing in a bike lock that requires power tools to break, and wrapping a cord around its wheels and frame. Fox News, "Texas man says police suggested he ‘pay’ to get stolen bike back," 25 July 2019 Stranger Things doesn’t usually struggle with those elements; more often, its aesthetics help smooth over the moments when the narrative gets stuck and starts spinning its wheels. Aja Romano, Vox, "Stranger Things season 3 is charming but frustrating. Here’s a spoiler-free review.," 30 June 2019 As seen in these spy photos where it's covered in a camouflage wrap, the upcoming 2020 Atlas Cross Sport appears production ready save for the missing center caps on its wheels. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "Volkswagen's Atlas Cross Sport Two-Row SUV Is Almost Here," 31 May 2019 The Pro Intellimouse is a five-button mouse, with left- and right-click, a clickable scroll wheel, and two clickable buttons on the left side of the mouse. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's Pro Intellimouse for gaming puts a sassy taillight on an otherwise sober design," 28 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The officers wheel the chair over to the truck and toss all their belongings into the dump truck. Globe Correspondent, BostonGlobe.com, "Tweets of the Week: Mourning Toni Morrison, #OperationCleanSweep, 30-50 feral hogs," 9 Aug. 2019 Thomas wheeled her 15-item cart to the express lane, meant explicitly for customers with ten items or fewer. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Erica Thomas, Mythmaker," 26 July 2019 Peader wheeled his trolley over, and Moira and Mikey followed, Moira idly swishing the sword in the air. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 Just two minutes later Wijnaldum was wheeling away in celebration once more after heading home. SI.com, "Georginio Wijnaldum: 5 of the Midfielder's Best Moments for Liverpool," 22 July 2019 Shortly after the latest earthquake, the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital wheeled out patients -- some still hooked to their IV stands. Paul Vercammen, CNN, "Patients wheeled out of a hospital, some still hooked to IVs, after earthquake hits," 6 July 2019 Nature is fecund all around us, a season in full swing, wheeling, dicing spores so numerous that the air is thick with them. Melinda Stevens, Condé Nast Traveler, "Editor's Letter: On Savoring the Moment at Every Bend," 25 June 2019 The massive 90 and 120-liter duffels as well as the Black Hole wheeled duffels are also all 30 percent off. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Patagonia Duffel Bags and Backpacks Are On Sale Now," 9 June 2019 For his flight, Beckham wheeled on a rare carry-on: a hard suitcase by Supreme. Vogue, "Brooklyn Beckham’s Carry-On Luggage Is a Cult Favorite," 21 May 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

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wheel

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

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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
: 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wheel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to shake or wave menacingly

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