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 The line led him to a gigantic red snapper, sitting at the wheel of a ’77 Lincoln sedan that Duggar and his buddies had previously repurposed as fish habitat. al, 16 July 2021 Rear-wheel drive will be standard with all-wheel drive optional. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, 14 July 2021 The all-wheel-drive Sanctuary has been outfitted with all the creature comforts to elevate your camping experience. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 13 July 2021 All-wheel-drive, a 1.6L gasoline engine, electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission are standard. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 9 July 2021 This feature enhances the all-wheel-drive system and makes the Crosstrek more capable in low-speed off-road conditions. Ryan Zummallen, Star Tribune, 7 July 2021 Videos have been posted on Twitter and elsewhere showing drivers reading or sleeping while at the wheel of Teslas. New York Times, 5 July 2021 Giovanni Viruet, 27, of the 4100 block of Nelson, Chicago, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on June 9 after police said he was found asleep at the wheel of his car in the middle of the 6500 block of Dempster Street. Pioneer Press Staff, chicagotribune.com, 21 June 2021 In 1995 in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, an officer pulled over Jonny Gammage, a Black businessman who was at the wheel of a luxury sports car. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 On Instagram: • Tap the settings wheel at the very top, then Privacy. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 20 May 2021 At Your Service Cocktail Butler, who'll wheel up a drink cart on demand. Jancee Dunn, Travel + Leisure, 16 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

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wheel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wheel. Accessed 2 Aug. 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
: 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.

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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