- A large, open circle at the front connects with an outside wheel by means of spokes, some straight and some angled, which have been painted yellow, orange, green or black.
- China may only have blunt weapons with which to handle overheating - the economic equivalent of pushing a walking stick into the spokes of a bicycle's front wheel.
- It was in this act of destruction, where the spokes of the bicycle splintered off, that I came to know the material.
In the sense ‘a bar or rod connecting the centre of a wheel to its edge’, spoke is an Old English word, related to spike. It appears in the slightly puzzling expression put a spoke in someone's wheel. This means ‘to prevent someone from carrying out a plan’, but since wheels are supposed to have spokes it does not appear to make a lot of sense. It is probably a mistranslation of Dutch een spaak in 'twiel steeken, ‘to put a bar in the wheel’—the image that should come to mind is of a bar being stuck into a wheel to stop it turning properly.
put a spoke in someone's wheel
- British Prevent someone from carrying out a plan.Example sentences
- His position as deputy manager of a State tobacco company might have put a spoke in the judge's wheel, thwarting his plan to proceed in accordance with the law.
- And here's a comment from a LibDem voter: ‘I always thought he was a good MP but you have put a spoke in his wheel.’
- He said: ‘There has been a bit of needle between the tracks in the past and I would love to put a spoke in their wheel.’
- [in combination]: a wire-spoked wheel