Word of the Day : August 25, 2013


verb ROWL


1 : to goad with or as if with a pointed disk at the end of a spur

2 : vex, trouble

Did You Know?

If you've seen Western movies, you've seen rowels. The noun "rowel" names the circular, point-covered disk on the end of a spur that is used to urge powerful steeds to maximum speeds. But cowboys didn't invent rowels; knights in shining armor were sporting them even before the 12th century. English speakers of yore picked up the noun "rowel" from the Anglo-French "roele," meaning "small wheel." By the end of the 1500s, "rowel" was also being used as a verb for any process of prodding or goading that was as irritating as being poked in the side with a rowel.


With one of the best fastballs in the league combined with a wicked changeup, Lester roweled the opposing line-up for his second career no-hitter.

"He folded the book shut, touched his hat, moved to the wagon, and roweled the horses around." - From Colum McCann's 2013 novel TransAtlantic

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "rowel" can refer to a gambling game in which a small ball is dropped onto a spinning wheel? The answer is …


play rowel word of the day

'Rowel' — Video Word of the Day 4/4/2019

verb - to vex or trouble


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!