from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The main or chief wheel in a machine; specifically, a wheel which acts as a driver or imparts motion to other parts, as the large cog-wheel of a horse-power.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • You will consider yourself as the task-mistress, and the common herd of female servants as so many negroes directing themselves by your nod; or yourself as the master-wheel, in some beautiful pieces of mechanism, whose dignified grave motions is to set a-going all the under-wheels, with a velocity suitable to their respective parts.


  • When they were in the very deepest place of all the ford, a little above the master-wheel of the water-mill, he asked if he had any coin about him.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

  • Rome would not be Rome; even a product of Rome would not be legitimate; even an offshoot from Rome would be of suspicious derivation, which _could_ find that great master-wheel of the state machinery a secondary force in its system.

    The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. 2

  • [whatever you think of your Anna Howe, I would not have her be the master-wheel,] and every body would love her; as every body did you, before your insolent brother came back, flushed with his unmerited acquirements, and turned all things topsy-turvy.

    Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady — Volume 3

  • She also promised herself the reward of witnessing Mr. Willoughby’s delighted approbation on such a display of his wife’s imaginative talents, for as Mrs. Nesbitt herself had been the master-wheel of the whole machine, she had not a doubt but that its movements would secure the most animated applause.

    Isabella. A Novel


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