Definition of wheel in English:

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Pronunciation: /(h)wēl/


1A circular object that revolves on an axle and is fixed below a vehicle or other object to enable it to move easily over the ground.
Example sentences
  • In stand-by configuration, the vehicle's front wheels deploy to the ground like a jet plane landing gear to increase longitudinal stability.
  • I heard the doors close and saw little in the dimmed light, but I heard an engine starting and wheels moving along the ground.
  • In addition, there is, he says, the physical damage caused by tractor wheels and by vehicles moving onto verges on narrow roads.
disk, hoop, ring, circle
1.1A circular object that revolves on an axle and forms part of a machine.
Example sentences
  • Instead they pumped the water which turned the wheels which powered the machines.
  • She ground her teeth like the gears in her head - fast and getting her nowhere, some useless pieces of machinery spinning an axle but no wheels.
  • The gleaming, ultimate, driving machine slows down and stops, two alloy wheels on the footpath, twenty yards from the junction.
1.2 (the wheel) Used in reference to the cycle of a specified condition or set of events: the final release from the wheel of life
More example sentences
  • Like the wheel of karma that cycles through every life, the roots of present events can be traced back to earlier events in this or previous lives.
  • His appointment as Waterford County Manager brought the wheel full cycle, a return for Donal from whence he began.
  • Immortality, the birthless and deathless state of nirvana, lies beyond this cycle of the wheel of life.
1.3 (the wheel) historical A large wheel used as an instrument of punishment or torture, especially by binding someone to it and breaking their limbs: a man sentenced to be broken on the wheel
More example sentences
  • The punishment in hell is to broken on the wheel.
  • Those who resisted were hanged, broken on the wheel, sent to the fortress of Toulon where the water was waist-high.
  • Calas was broken on the wheel, a grisly process in which the condemned person's limbs were smashed with iron bars and the mutilated corpse raised up for public display on a cartwheel.
2A machine or structure having a wheel as its essential part.
2.1 (the wheel) A steering wheel (used in reference to driving or steering a vehicle or vessel): his crew knows when he wants to take the wheel
More example sentences
  • Discrete buttons mounted behind the wheel give you fingertip control over the gearbox.
  • This is a car that lives by its 7,000 rpm redline and brings out the devil in whoever sits behind the wheel.
  • Put it on a motorway and you could happily sit behind the wheel and watch the miles waft past.
2.2A vessel’s propeller or paddle-wheel.
Example sentences
  • The swift motion of the running wheel or the swirling propeller made their outlines blurred - they were neither exactly here nor exactly there.
2.3A device with a revolving disk or drum used in various games of chance.
Example sentences
  • Taking a chance on the roulette wheel could lead to empty pockets
  • This game allowed you to use the touch-screen as a steering device, displaying a wheel, which you drag in order to turn.
  • Next Saturday night's pay-out will be 1,400 euro with an added bonus of a chance to spin the wheel for an extra 500 euro!
2.4A system, or a part of a system, regarded as a relentlessly moving machine: the wheels of justice
More example sentences
  • She got away with this, but are we to be mercilessly reduced to cogs in the wheels of medical care systems over which we have lost all control?
  • Now home secretary David Blunkett says he's been trying to get the cleric out of circulation in Britain, but the wheels of the legal system grind slowly.
  • Remember, the wheels of the justice system can grind very slowly, at least in the US.
3 (wheels) informal A car: she’s got wheels now
3.1A bicycle.
4A thing resembling a wheel in form or function, in particular a cheese made in the form of a disk.
Example sentences
  • That's the cheese maker workout section of the day when you turn about a thousand wheels of cheese ranging from two to 12 pounds.
  • With perfect wheels of cheese and crackers before me, I misted up a bit.
  • Has the cheese wheel come full circle for Peter Beattie?
5An instance of wheeling; a turn or rotation.


1 [with object] Push or pull (a vehicle with wheels): the sled was wheeled out to the flight deck
More example sentences
  • A man wheeling his shopping cart through a toy store pulls up short in front of a huge box on a shelf.
  • The 33-year-old nearly knocked over an elderly man who was wheeling his bike across the road as he drove away from the pursuing patrol car.
  • The most likely explanation for Harry's disappearance was that he had slipped out of the gate when I was wheeling my bike into the garden after a longish lunch in town.
push, trundle, roll
1.1Carry (someone or something) in or on a vehicle with wheels: a young woman is wheeled into the operating room
More example sentences
  • Others recalled spotting the attractive brunette in the village post office buying sweets for her children, wheeling her youngest daughter, who was two, in a pushchair.
  • All sorts of people take part in the hour-long walks, from pensioners to young mums wheeling buggies to those who want some human company while taking the dog for a walk.
  • On an unseasonally nippy May Tuesday, two women, a man and a young girl wheeling a baby's buggy, set about cracking open the votes in Kinsealy.
1.2 (wheel something in/on/out) informal Produce something that is unimpressive because it has been frequently seen or heard before: the old journalistic arguments have to be wheeled out
More example sentences
  • After this unmatchable early peak, the usual karaoke classics were wheeled out.
  • Celebrities were wheeled out, and they'd just stand there and tell anecdotes.
  • Then Koizumi's secret weapons were wheeled out: glamorous female celebrity candidates.
2 [no object] (Of a bird or aircraft) fly in a wide circle or curve: the birds wheeled and dived
More example sentences
  • In the distance I could see the birds wheeling and diving into the clear blue waters of the Gulf.
  • As he approached the towers a salty breeze whipped against his skin, A few birds circled overhead, wheeling absently in fatigue above the barren lands.
  • Barrel rolls, loops and dives featured as the three aircraft wheeled gracefully over the expanse of Sydney Harbour.
turn, go around, circle, orbit
2.1Turn around quickly so as to face another way: Robert wheeled around to see the face of Mr. Mafouz
More example sentences
  • She wheeled around quickly and saw a young boy, maybe 11, holding onto the reigns of a young foal.
  • Credo pulled his horse up and wheeled around quickly to look behind him, where Erial pointed.
  • Hearing a slight noise to her left, she wheeled round again and stormed along the corridor, cursing Brunton's obsession with mazes.
2.2Turn or seem to turn on an axis or pivot: the stars wheeled through the sky
More example sentences
  • Overhead, the stars wheel in the heavens and a bright, bright moon shines down on the fields and on the house itself, for it's clear tonight.
  • I wheeled with the stars, my heart broke free on the open sky.
  • When you watch the seabirds wheel against a leaden sky, around a lonely and very deserted lighthouse, its difficult not to experience a shudder of dread and despair.



on wheels

1By, or traveling by, car or bicycle: a journey on wheels
More example sentences
  • They arrive on wheels, travel through the hospital on wheels and may be prescribed medicine, which originates from plants and minerals.
  • Staveley's Rob Jebb became only the second athlete to win the Three Peaks on foot and on wheels at the weekend, writes Mike Addison.
  • Parents need to be more aware if their children are on wheels they should be wearing helmets,’ he said.
1.1(Of a service) brought to one’s home or district; mobile.
Example sentences
  • A business solution on wheels: international and IBM collaborate on a telematics system that will change the way fleets do business
2 informal Used to emphasize one’s distaste or dislike of the person or thing mentioned: she was a bitch on wheels
More example sentences
  • Basically Candida is a bitch on wheels, and having spent the entire play trying to win her heart, Marchbanks, the weedy poet, fails in his quest and Candida chooses to stay with her husband.
  • The search is on for at least one childhood friend who will say the celebrity was a bitch on wheels; at least one disgruntled co-worker who will reveal all about the hissy fits in the dressing room.
  • If I don't get my way, I turn into a bitch on wheels (as someone once said), or I just feel miserable.

wheel and deal

Engage in commercial or political scheming, especially unscrupulously: (as noun wheeling and dealing) the wheeling and dealing of the Wall Street boom years
More example sentences
  • Both were incapable of disengaging from political wheeling and dealing when it mattered.
  • Similarly we are not interested in the political wheeling and dealing between the major parties that shapes council business.
  • In the model of ethnic democracy minorities are disadvantaged but can improve their position through politics of wheeling and dealing.

the wheel of Fortune

The wheel that the deity Fortune is fabled to turn as a symbol of random luck or change.
Example sentences
  • The ballet opens and closes with an invocation to ever-changing fate and the wheel of Fortune.
  • The sale was a good success and great fun with many prizes won on the wheel of Fortune and in the various raffles.

wheels within wheels

Used to indicate that a situation is complicated and affected by secret or indirect influences.
Example sentences
  • Sources tell us that Nine saved itself a big sum thanks to this fortuitous family connection, which adds wheels within wheels within wheels to the story.
  • Wheels within wheels within wheels, everybody fact-checks every one else, and the truth eventually is found.
  • Taberah felt dizzy with the complexity, or more accurately, giddy, drunk; he heard wheels within wheels within wheels within wheels.



Example sentences
  • Colin's sled was one of those fancy steerable ‘ski’ style sleds, with two skis supporting a raised seat and a third movable ski affixed to a steering wheel in front, not unlike a wheelless motorcycle.
  • And as you described it, the wheels off on this administration, and quickly finding itself wheelless.
  • When I hung up, there on the sidewalk by a trash can was a bike frame, wheelless, rusty, but with a leather seat on it.


Old English hwēol (noun), of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit cakra 'wheel, circle' and Greek kuklos 'circle'.

  • The wheel was probably invented some time around 4000 bc in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Its name, probably based on a word meaning ‘to turn’, moved east to India, where it produced Sanskrit cakra ‘wheel, circle’, source of the chakra (late 19th century) of yoga, and west, where it gave rise to Greek kuklos ‘circle’, the source of cycle (Late Middle English) and cyclone (mid 19th century). It is recorded in Anglo-Saxon English from about ad 900. To reinvent the wheel is a 20th-century expression. Wheels within wheels is an allusion to a biblical quotation from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel sees a vision in which four cherubs appear: ‘And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel’.

Words that rhyme with wheel

allele, anele, anneal, appeal, Bastille, Beale, Castile, chenille, cochineal, cockatiel, conceal, congeal, creel, deal, eel, Emile, feel, freewheel, genteel, Guayaquil, heal, heel, he'll, keel, Kiel, kneel, leal, Lille, Lucille, manchineel, meal, misdeal, Neil, O'Neill, ordeal, peal, peel, reel, schlemiel, seal, seel, she'll, spiel, squeal, steal, steel, Steele, teal, underseal, veal, weal, we'll, zeal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wheel

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