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

  • intransitive v. To turn around on an axis or center.
  • intransitive v. To proceed in sequence; take turns or alternate: Interns will rotate through the various departments.
  • transitive v. To cause to turn on an axis or center. See Synonyms at turn.
  • transitive v. To plant or grow (crops) in a fixed order of succession.
  • transitive v. To cause to alternate or proceed in sequence: The coach rotates her players frequently near the end of the game.
  • adj. Having radiating parts; wheel-shaped.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to spin, turn, or revolve.
  • v. to advance through a sequence; to take turns.
  • v. to lift the nose, just prior to takeoff.
  • v. to spin, turn, or revolve something.
  • v. to advance something through a sequence.
  • v. to replace older materials or to place older materials in front of newer ones so that older ones get used first.
  • v. to grow or plant in a certain order.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the parts spreading out like a wheel; wheel-shaped
  • intransitive v. To turn, as a wheel, round an axis; to revolve.
  • intransitive v. To perform any act, function, or operation in turn, to hold office in turn.
  • intransitive v. To cause to turn round or revolve, as a wheel around an axle.
  • intransitive v. To cause to succeed in turn; esp., to cause to succeed some one, or to be succeeded by some one, in office.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To revolve or move round a center or axis; turn in a circle, as or like a wheel; have a continuous circular motion.
  • To turn in a curve upon a center or support; have a revolving motion from side to side or up and down; specifically, in anatomy, to be rotated; execute one or any of the movements of rotation.
  • To go round in succession, as in or among a revolving or a repeating series; alternate serially; especially, to act or pass in rotation, as a set of office-holders or an office.
  • To cause to revolve upon an axis or upon a support; give a circular or curvilinear movement to; turn in a curve: as, to rotate a cylinder by hand; to rotate the head or the eyes.
  • To move or change about in a series or in rotation; cause to succeed in a serial or recurrent order: as, to rotate certain men in the tenure of an office.
  • In botany, wheel-shaped; spreading out nearly flat like a wheel: as, the limb of a rotate corolla, calyx, etc.: usually applied to a gamopetalous corolla with a short tube.
  • In zoology, wheel-shaped; rotiform; specifically, in entomology, noting hairs, spines, etc., when they form a ring around any organ or part, projecting at right angles to the axis.

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

  • v. turn on or around an axis or a center
  • v. turn outward
  • v. exchange on a regular basis
  • v. cause to turn on an axis or center
  • v. plant or grow in a fixed cyclic order of succession
  • v. perform a job or duty on a rotating basis


Latin rotāre, rotāt-, from rota, wheel; see ret- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin rotātus, perfect passive participle of rotō ("revolve"), from rota ("wheel"). (Wiktionary)


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  • Also an adjective: shaped like a wheel.

    November 14, 2007