There are 2 main definitions of spoke in English:

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spoke 1

Pronunciation: /spəʊk/


1Each of the bars or wire rods connecting the centre of a wheel to its outer edge.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.1Each of a set of radial handles projecting from a ship’s wheel.
1.2Each of the metal rods in an umbrella to which the material is attached.
Example sentences
  • The umbrella, with its protective cloth stripped off and the spokes spread uselessly in the air, is thus a poignant and recurrent emblem of the dangers that lie in the rift between words and objects.


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




Old English spāca, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch speek, German Speiche, from the base of spike1.

  • 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.

Words that rhyme with spoke

awoke, bespoke, bloke, broke, choke, cloak, Coke, convoke, croak, evoke, folk, invoke, joke, Koch, moke, oak, okey-doke, poke, provoke, revoke, roque, smoke, soak, soke, stoke, stony-broke (US stone-broke), stroke, toke, toque, woke, yoke, yolk
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There are 2 main definitions of spoke in English:

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spoke 2

Pronunciation: /spəʊk/
Past of speak.
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