Pronunciation Noun

wheel (plural wheels)

  1. A circular device capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines.
    1. (informal, with "the") A steering wheel and its implied control of a vehicle.
    2. (nautical) The instrument attached to the rudder by which a vessel is steered.
    3. A spinning wheel.
    4. A potter's wheel.
      • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Jeremiah 18:3 ↗:
        Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
      • Turn, turn, my wheel! This earthen jar / A touch can make, a touch can mar.
  2. The breaking wheel, an old instrument of torture.
  3. (slang) A person with a great deal of power or influence; a big wheel.
    1. (computing, dated) A superuser on certain systems.
  4. (poker slang) The lowest straight in poker: ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.
  5. (automotive) A wheelrim.
  6. A round portion of cheese.
  7. A Catherine wheel firework.
  8. (obsolete) A rolling or revolving body; anything of a circular form; a disk; an orb.
  9. A turn or revolution; rotation; compass.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 3”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      [He] throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel.
  10. (figurative) A recurring or cyclical course of events.
    the wheel of life
    • According to the common vicissitude and wheel of things, the proud and the insolent, after long trampling upon others, come at length to be trampled upon themselves.
  11. (slang, archaic) A dollar.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • Italian: pezzo grosso
  • Spanish: pez gordo
Translations Verb

wheel (wheels, present participle wheeling; past and past participle wheeled)

  1. (transitive) To roll along on wheels.
    Wheel that trolley over here, would you?
    • 1841, “Parliamentary Masons.—Parliamentary Pictures,” Punch, Volume I, p. 162,
      Why should we confine a body of men to making laws, when so many of them might be more usefully employed in wheeling barrows?
    • 1850, Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter 28,
      He […] cleared the table; piled everything on the dumb-waiter; gave us our wine-glasses; and, of his own accord, wheeled the dumb-waiter into the pantry.
    • 1916, H. G. Wells, Mr. Britling Sees It Through, Book I, Chapter 1, § 9,
      But two cheerful women servants appeared from what was presumably the kitchen direction, wheeling a curious wicker erection, which his small guide informed him was called Aunt Clatter—manifestly deservedly—and which bore on its shelves the substance of the meal.
  2. (transitive) To transport something or someone using any wheeled mechanism, such as a wheelchair.
    • 1916, Robert Frost, “A Girl’s Garden” in Mountain Interval, New York: Henry Holt & Co., p. 61,
      She wheeled the dung in the wheelbarrow
      Along a stretch of road;
      But she always ran away and left
      Her not-nice load,
    • 1924, Bess Streeter Aldrich, Mother Mason, Chapter 3,
      Bob was wheeling the baby up and down, Mabel watching him, hawk-eyed, as though she suspected him of harboring intentions of tipping the cab over.
  3. (intransitive, dated) To ride a bicycle or tricycle.
  4. (intransitive) To change direction quickly, turn, pivot, whirl, wheel around.
    • c. 1604, William Shakespeare, Othello, Act I, Scene 1,
      Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,
      I say again, hath made a gross revolt;
      Tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortunes
      In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
      Of here and every where.
    • 1898, Stephen Crane, “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”
      The dog screamed, and, wheeling in terror, galloped headlong in a new direction.
    • 1912, James Stephens, The Charwoman’s Daughter, Chapter 8,
      The gulls in the river were flying in long, lazy curves, dipping down to the water, skimming it an instant, and then wheeling up again with easy, slanting wings.
    • 1917, A. E. W. Mason, The Affair at the Semiramis Hotel, Chapter 3,
      But before he could move a step a taxi-cab turned into the Adelphi from the Strand, and wheeling in front of their faces, stopped at Calladine's door.
    • 1922, T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Introduction, Chapter 5,
      Enver, Jemal and Feisal watched the troops wheeling and turning in the dusty plain outside the city gate, rushing up and down in mimic camel-battle, or spurring their horses in the javelin game after immemorial Arab fashion.
  5. (transitive) To cause to change direction quickly, turn.
    • 1898, Samuel Butler, The Iliad of Homer, Rendered into English Prose, Book 17,
      […] he did as Menelaus had said, and set off running as soon as he had given his armour to a comrade, Laodocus, who was wheeling his horses round, close beside him.
    • 1931, Robert E. Howard, Hawks of Outremer, Chapter 2,
      Then wheeling his black steed suddenly, he raced away before the dazed soldiers could get their wits together to send a shower of arrows after him.
  6. (intransitive) To travel around in large circles, particularly in the air.
    The vulture wheeled above us.
    • 1829, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Timbuctoo,” lines 63-67,
      […] Each aloft
      Upon his narrowed eminence bore globes
      Of wheeling suns, or stars, or semblances
      Of either, showering circular abyss
      Of radiance.
    • 1917 November, W[illiam] B[utler] Yeats, “The Wild Swans at Coole”, in The Wild Swans at Coole, Other Verses an a Play in Verse, Churchtown, Dundrum [Dublin]: The Cuala Press, OCLC 4474827 ↗, page 1 ↗:
      The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me / Since I first made my count. / I saw, before I had well finished, / All suddenly mount / And scatter wheeling in great broken rings / Upon their clamorous wings.
    • 1933, Robert Byron, First Russia, Then Tibet, Part II, Chapter 8,
      We could see the poor brute in the bottom, as the vultures came wheeling down like baroque aeroplanes; its ribs were already bare.
  7. (transitive) To put into a rotatory motion; to cause to turn or revolve; to make or perform in a circle.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 7, lines 499-501,[https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Paradise_Lost_(1674)/Book_VII]
      Now Heav’n in all her Glorie shon, and rowld
      Her motions, as the great first-Movers hand
      First wheeld thir course;
    • 1751, Thomas Gray, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”, lines 5-8,
      Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
      And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
      Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
      And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:
    • 1839, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Sunrise on the Hills,”
      […] upward, in the mellow blush of day,
      The noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way.
Translations Translations

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