Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make (a liquid) muddy or cloudy by stirring up sediment.
  • transitive v. To displease or disturb; vex: My roommate's off-putting habits began to roil me.
  • intransitive v. To be in a state of turbulence or agitation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To render turbid by stirring up the dregs or sediment of
  • v. To annoy; to make someone angry.
  • v. To bubble, seethe.
  • v. To wander; to roam.
  • v. To romp.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To wander; to roam.
  • intransitive v. To romp.
  • transitive v. To render turbid by stirring up the dregs or sediment of; , in casks or bottles; to roil a spring.
  • transitive v. To disturb, as the temper; to ruffle the temper of; to rouse the passion of resentment in; to perplex.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To run; wander; roll; rove.
  • To render turbid by stirring up the dregs or sediment: as, to roil wine, cider, or other liquor in casks or bottles.
  • To excite to some degree of anger; annoy; vex: now more commonly, in colloquial use, rile.
  • To perplex.
  • To salt (fish) by means of a roiler.
  • n. A Flemish horse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make turbid by stirring up the sediments of
  • v. be agitated

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Possibly from French Middle French rouiller ("to rust, make muddy"), from Old French rouil ("mud, rust"), from Vulgar Latin *robicula, from Latin robigo ("rust, blight") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word roil has appeared in 33 New York Times articles in the past year, including on Aug. 8 in The Caucus blog post "Rick Perry to Make Clear He Intends to Run," by Jeff Zeleny:

    NYT > Home Page

  • (BTW, "roil" means, disturb, muddy the waters - I had to look it up.)

    Slugger O'Toole

  • Young Americans came to view religion, according to one survey, as judgmental, homophobic, hypocritical, and too political.49 All these were premonitory signs that a second major aftershock was about to roil the American religious landscape.

    American Grace

  • In a rare interview with a reporter, Harry A. Blackmun spoke publicly for the first time about the controversial decision that continues to roil the political waters 38 years later.

    Al Eisele: The Quiet Man Who Wrote Roe v. Wade

  • It it, he spoke publicly for the first time about the controversial decision that continues to roil the political waters 38 years later.

    Al Eisele: The Quiet Man Who Wrote Roe v. Wade

  • That will roil the water and freeze it, but not boil it.

    Think Progress » Will Sarah Palin call on Rush Limbaugh to apologize for saying liberal activists are ‘retards’?

  • Good Evening, Mr. Wallenberg (1990) - As the coldly devastating consequences of Hitler's Final Solution roil the streets and ghettoes of Budapest in 1944, mild-mannered businessman Raoul Wallenberg (Stellan Skarsgard) strives valiantly to protect Hungarian Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis.

    John Farr: Never Again: Ten Great Holocaust Films You May Have Missed

  • The earthquake and its aftermath in Japan continued to roil electronics supply chains Monday as Texas Instruments Inc. projected that one of its chip factories damaged in the disaster won't ship at full volume until September.

    Firms Assess the Damage From Quake

  • NEW YORK—Investors' new anxieties tied to Japan helped send the stock market's volatility benchmark to its biggest intraday jump since Libya and oil worries started to roil markets last month.

    Stock Volatility Index Jumps on Japan Anxieties

  • A suicide car bomber struck a police building in Pakistan's main northwest city on Wednesday, killing five police officers and wounding at least 30 other people in the latest violence to roil the country since the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

    Suicide bomber attacks Pakistani police

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