Word of the Day : April 4, 2019


verb ROWL

What It Means

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

2 : vex, trouble


"He folded the book shut, touched his hat, moved to the wagon, and roweled the horses around." — Colum McCann, TransAtlantic, 2013

"Then suddenly he found himself at the end of his money.… Hunger rode him and roweled him. He was no longer well fed, comfortable." — Frank Norris, McTeague, 1899

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." It wasn't until the 16th century that rowel began to be used as a verb for the act of spurring a horse with a rowel. By the 19th century, rowel was 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.

Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of the verb rowel meaning "to goad": _ _ st _ g _ _ e.



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