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

  • n. A solid disk or a rigid circular ring connected by spokes to a hub, designed to turn around an axle passed through the center.
  • n. Something resembling such a disk or ring in appearance or movement or having a wheel as its principal part or characteristic, as:
  • n. The steering device on a vehicle.
  • n. A potter's wheel.
  • n. A water wheel.
  • n. A spinning wheel.
  • n. Games A device used in roulette and other games of chance.
  • n. A firework that rotates while burning.
  • n. Informal A bicycle.
  • n. An instrument to which a victim was bound for torture during the Middle Ages.
  • n. Forces that provide energy, movement, or direction: the wheels of commerce.
  • n. The act or process of turning; revolution or rotation.
  • n. A military maneuver executed in order to change the direction of movement of a formation, as of troops or ships, in which the formation is maintained while the outer unit describes an arc and the inner or center unit remains stationary as a pivot.
  • n. Slang A motor vehicle or access thereto: Do you have wheels tonight?
  • n. Slang A person with a great deal of power or influence: a wheel in state government.
  • transitive v. To roll, move, or transport on wheels or a wheel.
  • transitive v. To cause to turn around or as if around a central axis; revolve or rotate.
  • transitive v. To provide with wheels or a wheel.
  • intransitive v. To turn around or as if around a central axis; revolve or rotate.
  • intransitive v. To roll or move on or as if on wheels or a wheel.
  • intransitive v. To fly in a curving or circular course: A flock of gulls wheeled just above the dock.
  • intransitive v. To turn or whirl around in place; pivot: "The boy wheeled and the fried eggs leaped from his tray” ( Ivan Gold).
  • intransitive v. To reverse one's opinion or practice: Don't be surprised if the boss wheels about on that idea.
  • idiom at Operating the steering mechanism of a vehicle; driving.
  • idiom at Directing or controlling; in charge.
  • idiom wheel and deal Informal To engage in the advancement of one's own interests, especially in a canny, aggressive, or unscrupulous way.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A circular device capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines.
  • n. A wheel-like device used as an instrument of torture or punishment.
  • n. A steering wheel and its implied control of a vehicle.
  • n. The instrument attached to the rudder by which a vessel is steered.
  • n. A person with a great deal of power or influence; a big wheel.
  • n. The lowest straight in poker: ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.
  • n. wheel rim
  • n. a round portion of cheese
  • v. To roll along as on wheels.
  • v. To travel around in large circles, particularly in the air.
  • v. To transport something or someone using any wheeled mechanism, such as a wheelchair.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A circular frame turning about an axis; a rotating disk, whether solid, or a frame composed of an outer rim, spokes or radii, and a central hub or nave, in which is inserted the axle, -- used for supporting and conveying vehicles, in machinery, and for various purposes.
  • n. Any instrument having the form of, or chiefly consisting of, a wheel.
  • n. A spinning wheel. See under Spinning.
  • n. An instrument of torture formerly used.
  • n. A circular frame having handles on the periphery, and an axle which is so connected with the tiller as to form a means of controlling the rudder for the purpose of steering.
  • n. A potter's wheel. See under Potter.
  • n. A firework which, while burning, is caused to revolve on an axis by the reaction of the escaping gases.
  • n. The burden or refrain of a song.
  • n. A bicycle or a tricycle; a velocipede.
  • n. A rolling or revolving body; anything of a circular form; a disk; an orb.
  • n. A turn revolution; rotation; compass.
  • intransitive v. To turn on an axis, or as on an axis; to revolve; to more about; to rotate; to gyrate.
  • intransitive v. To change direction, as if revolving upon an axis or pivot; to turn.
  • intransitive v. To go round in a circuit; to fetch a compass.
  • intransitive v. To roll forward.
  • transitive v. To convey on wheels, or in a wheeled vehicle.
  • transitive v. To put into a rotatory motion; to cause to turn or revolve; to cause to gyrate; to make or perform in a circle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to turn, or to move in a circle; make to rotate, revolve, or change direction.
  • To convey on wheels or in a vehicle mounted on wheels.
  • To make or perform in a circle; give a circular direction or form to.
  • To provide with a wheel or wheels: as, to wheel a cart.
  • To cause to move on or as on wheels; rotate; cause to turn: as, to wheel a rank of soldiers.
  • To turn on a wheel.
  • In tanning, to submit to the action of a pin-wheel. See pinwheel, 2.
  • To shape by means of the wheel, as in pottery. See potters' wheel (under potter), and throw, transitive verb, 2.
  • To break upon the wheel. See break.
  • To turn on or as on an axis or about a center; rotate; revolve.
  • To change direction of course, as if moving on a pivot or center.
  • To move in a circular or spiral course.
  • To take a circular course; return upon one's steps; hence, to wander; go out of the straight way.
  • To travel smoothly; go at a round pace; trundle along; roll forward.
  • To move on wheels; specifically, to ride a bicycle or tricycle; travel by means of a bicycle or tricycle.
  • To change or reverse one's opinion or course of action: frequently with about.
  • n. A movement in drill in which a line changes front without destroying the alinement.
  • n. The driving-wheel of a bicycle which has a releasing-device for freeing the pedals for coasting.
  • n. A circular frame or solid disk turning on an axis.
  • n. Any instrument, apparatus, machine, or other object shaped like a wheel, or the essential feature of which is a wheel: as, a mill-wheel, a spinning-wheel, or a potters' wheel.
  • n. Nautical, a circular frame with handles projecting from the periphery, and an axle on which are wound the ropes or chains which connect with the rudder for steering a ship; a steering-wheel. Where a ship is steered by steam, in place of an ordinary wheel a small wheel is used, by turning which steam is admitted to the engines which turn the barrel on which the wheel-rope is wound.
  • n. An instrument of torture. See to break on the wheel, under break.
  • n. A firework of a circular shape which revolves on an axis, while burning by the reaction of the escaping gases. See catharine-wheel, 3, and pinwheel, 3.
  • n. plural Figuratively, a carriage; a chariot.
  • n. One of the attributes of Fortune, the emblem of mutability.
  • n. A bicycle or a tricycle.
  • n. In zoology:
  • n. The characteristic organ of a wheel-animalcule; the trochal disk of a rotifer; a wheel-organ (which see). See cuts under Rotifer, Rotifera, and trochal.
  • n. Some discoid or wheel-shaped calcareous or silicious concretion, as of an echinoderm or a sponge; a wheel-spicule.
  • n. A circular course or motion; a whirling round; a revolution; rotation; also, a wheeling, turning, or bending.
  • n. A motive power; in the plural, machinery; hence, a principle of life or motion.
  • n. The burden of a song; a refrain: perhaps in allusion to its regular recurrence.
  • n. A factory for grinding cutlery.
  • n. A dollar.
  • n. In embroidery and fancy needlework, an opening, not necessarily circular, filled with radiating bars or brides of thread.
  • n. See ward, 11.
  • n. Figuratively, something superfluous or useless.
  • n. to subject one to a punishment out of all proportion to the gravity of the offense and the importance of the offender; hence, to employ great means or exertions for the attainment of trifling ends.
  • n. A device for dividing a circle into any number of equal parts.
  • n. (See also breast wheel, bull-wheel, catharine-wheel, cog-wheel, crown-wheel, dial-wheel, flange-wheel, measuring-wheel, pinwheel.)
  • n. An old spelling of wheal.
  • n. See wheal.
  • n. An erroneous dialectal form of weel.

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

  • v. wheel somebody or something
  • n. a simple machine consisting of a circular frame with spokes (or a solid disc) that can rotate on a shaft or axle (as in vehicles or other machines)
  • n. game equipment consisting of a wheel with slots that is used for gambling; the wheel rotates horizontally and players bet on which slot the roulette ball will stop in
  • v. ride a bicycle
  • n. a circular helm to control the rudder of a vessel
  • n. a wheeled vehicle that has two wheels and is moved by foot pedals
  • n. a handwheel that is used for steering
  • n. an instrument of torture that stretches or disjoints or mutilates victims
  • n. forces that provide energy and direction
  • v. change directions as if revolving on a pivot
  • v. move along on or as if on wheels or a wheeled vehicle


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

Middle English, from Old English hwēol.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English whele, from Old English hwēoġol, hwēol, from Proto-Germanic *hwehwlan (cf. West Frisian tsjil, Dutch wiel, Danish hjul), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷekʷlóm, *kʷékʷlos (cf. Tocharian B kokale ("cart, wagon"), Ancient Greek κύκλος (kuklos, "cycle, wheel"), Avestan  (čaxrō), Sanskrit चक्र (cakrá)), reduplication of *kʷel- (“to turn”) (cf. Welsh dymchwel ("to overturn, upset"), Latin colere ("to till, cultivate"), Tocharian A and B käl ("to bear; bring"), Ancient Greek (Aeolic)  (pélesthai, "to be in motion"), Old Church Slavonic коло (kolo, "wheel"), Albanian sjell ("to bring, carry, turn around"), Avestan  (čaraiti, "it circulates"), Sanskrit  (cárati, "it moves, wanders")).



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  • I like weirdnet's definition of the verb: "wheel somebody or something".

    August 2, 2008

  • I helped myself onto the stretcher. I was wheeled through the double doors into a bathroom-green room.

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    August 2, 2008