What does wheel mean?

Definitions for wheel
ʰwil, wilwheel

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word wheel.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. wheelnoun

    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)

  2. steering wheel, wheelnoun

    a handwheel that is used for steering

  3. wheelnoun

    forces that provide energy and direction

    "the wheels of government began to turn"

  4. wheelnoun

    a circular helm to control the rudder of a vessel

  5. roulette wheel, wheelnoun

    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

  6. rack, wheelnoun

    an instrument of torture that stretches or disjoints or mutilates victims

  7. bicycle, bike, wheel, cycleverb

    a wheeled vehicle that has two wheels and is moved by foot pedals

  8. wheel, wheel aroundverb

    change directions as if revolving on a pivot

    "They wheeled their horses around and left"

  9. wheel, wheel aroundverb

    wheel somebody or something

  10. wheel, rollverb

    move along on or as if on wheels or a wheeled vehicle

    "The President's convoy rolled past the crowds"

  11. bicycle, cycle, bike, pedal, wheelverb

    ride a bicycle


  1. wheelnoun

    A circular device capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines.

  2. wheelnoun

    A wheel-like device used as an instrument of torture or punishment.

  3. wheelnoun

    A steering wheel and its implied control of a vehicle.

  4. wheelnoun

    The instrument attached to the rudder by which a vessel is steered.

  5. wheelnoun

    A person with a great deal of power or influence; a big wheel.

  6. wheelnoun

    The lowest straight in poker: ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.

  7. wheelnoun

    wheel rim

  8. wheelverb

    To roll along as on wheels.

    Wheel that trolley over here, would you?

  9. wheelverb

    To travel around in large circles, particularly in the air.

    The vulture wheeled above us.

  10. wheelverb

    To transport something or someone using any wheeled mechanism, such as a wheelchair.

  11. Etymology: whele, from hweogol, hweol, from hwehwlan (cf. West Frisian tsjil, Dutch wiel, Danish hjul), from kʷekʷlóm (cf. Tocharian B kokale 'cart, wagon', Ancient Greek κύκλος 'cycle, wheel', Avestan, Sanskrit), reduplication of *kʷel 'to turn' (cf. Welsh dymdymchwel 'to overturn, upset', Latin colere 'to till, cultivate', Tocharian AB 'to bear; bring', Ancient Greek (Aeolic) pélesthai 'to be in motion', коло 'wheel', Albanian sjell 'to turn around', Avestan 'it circulates', Sanskrit 'it moves, wanders').

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Wheelnoun

    Etymology: hweol , Saxon; wiel, Dutch; hioel, Islandick.

    Carnality within raises all the combustions without: this is the great wheel to which the clock owes its motion. Dec. P.

    The gasping charioteer beneath the wheel
    Of his own car. Dryden.

    Fortune sits all breathless, and admires to feel
    A fate so weighty, that it stops her wheel. Dryden.

    Some watches are made with four wheels, others with five. John Locke.

    A wheel-plough is one of the best and easiest draughts. John Mortimer, Husbandry.

    Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    The star that rose at ev’ning bright,
    Towards heav’n’s descent had stopt his westering wheel. John Milton.

    Through the proud street she moves the publick gaze,
    The turning wheel before the palace stays. Alexander Pope.

    Let them pull all about mine ears, present me
    Death on the wheel, or at wild horses heels. William Shakespeare.

    Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am bound
    Upon a wheel of fire. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    For all the torments of her wheel
    May you as many pleasures share. Edmund Waller.

    His examination is like that which is made by the rack and wheel. Addison.

    Verse sweetens care, however rude the sound,
    All at her work the village maiden sings;
    Nor as she turns the giddy wheel around,
    Revolves the sad vicissitudes of things. Richard Gifford.

    Look not too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude, lest we become giddy. Francis Bacon.

    According to the common vicissitude and wheel of things, the proud and the insolent, after long trampling upon others, come at length to be trampled upon themselves. Robert South, Sermons.

    He throws his flight in many an airy wheel. John Milton.

  2. To Wheelverb

    To put into a rotatory motion; to make to whirl round.

    Heav’n rowl’d
    Her motions, as the great first Mover’s hand
    First wheels their course. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

  3. To Wheelverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    The moon carried about the earth always shews the same face to us, not once wheeling upon her own center. Richard Bentley.

    Held me in chace, that I was forc’d to wheel
    Three or four miles about. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    You my Myrmidons,
    Mark what I say, attend me where I wheel. William Shakespeare.

    Continually wheeling about, he kept them in so strait, that no man could, without great danger, go to water his horse. Richard Knolles.

    He at hand provokes
    His rage, and plies him with redoubled strokes;
    Wheels as he wheels. Dryden.

    Half these draw off, and coast the south
    With strictest watch: these other wheel the north:
    Our circuit meets full west: as flame they part,
    Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. John Milton.

    Now smoothly steers through air his rapid flight,
    Then wheeling down the steep of heav’n he flies
    And draws a radiant circle o’er the skies. Alexander Pope.

    The course of justice wheel’d about,
    And left thee but a very prey to time. William Shakespeare.

    Must wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls. John Milton.


  1. Wheel

    In its primitive form, a wheel is a circular block of a hard and durable material at whose center has been bored a hole through which is placed an axle bearing about which the wheel rotates when torque is applied to the wheel about its axis. The wheel and axle assembly can be considered one of the six simple machines. When placed vertically under a load-bearing platform or case, the wheel turning on the horizontal axle makes it possible to transport heavy loads. This arrangement is the main topic of this article, but there are many other applications of a wheel addressed in the corresponding articles: when placed horizontally, the wheel turning on its vertical axle provides the spinning motion used to shape materials (e.g. a potter's wheel); when mounted on a column connected to a rudder or to the steering mechanism of a wheeled vehicle, it can be used to control the direction of a vessel or vehicle (e.g. a ship's wheel or steering wheel); when connected to a crank or engine, a wheel can store, release, or transmit energy (e.g. the flywheel). A wheel and axle with force applied to create torque at one radius can translate this to a different force at a different radius, also with a different linear velocity.


  1. wheel

    A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle bearing. It is one of the key components used in transportation and machinery. The wheel, which is a fundamental invention in human history, greatly reduces friction by facilitating motion by rolling. In addition to its fundamental use for transportation, wheels are also used in various machines and instruments to perform tasks more efficiently. The wheel can be made from various materials such as metal, plastic, or rubber, often with a tire around the outside to provide better traction.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Wheelnoun

    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; as, the wheel of a wagon, of a locomotive, of a mill, of a watch, etc

  2. Wheelnoun

    any instrument having the form of, or chiefly consisting of, a wheel

  3. Wheelnoun

    a spinning wheel. See under Spinning

  4. Wheelnoun

    an instrument of torture formerly used

  5. Wheelnoun

    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

  6. Wheelnoun

    a potter's wheel. See under Potter

  7. Wheelnoun

    a firework which, while burning, is caused to revolve on an axis by the reaction of the escaping gases

  8. Wheelnoun

    the burden or refrain of a song

  9. Wheelnoun

    a bicycle or a tricycle; a velocipede

  10. Wheelnoun

    a rolling or revolving body; anything of a circular form; a disk; an orb

  11. Wheelnoun

    a turn revolution; rotation; compass

  12. Wheelverb

    to convey on wheels, or in a wheeled vehicle; as, to wheel a load of hay or wood

  13. Wheelverb

    to put into a rotatory motion; to cause to turn or revolve; to cause to gyrate; to make or perform in a circle

  14. Wheelverb

    to turn on an axis, or as on an axis; to revolve; to more about; to rotate; to gyrate

  15. Wheelverb

    to change direction, as if revolving upon an axis or pivot; to turn; as, the troops wheeled to the right

  16. Wheelverb

    to go round in a circuit; to fetch a compass

  17. Wheelverb

    to roll forward

  18. Etymology: [OE. wheel, hweol, AS. hwel, hweogul, hweowol; akin to D. wiel, Icel. hvl, Gr. ky`klos, Skr. cakra; cf. Icel. hjl, Dan. hiul, Sw. hjul. 218. Cf. Cycle, Cyclopedia.]


  1. Wheel

    A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axial bearing. The wheel is one of the main components of the wheel and axle which is one of the six simple machines. Wheels, in conjunction with axles, allow heavy objects to be moved easily facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load, or performing labor in machines. Wheels are also used for other purposes, such as a ship's wheel, steering wheel, potter's wheel and flywheel. Common examples are found in transport applications. A wheel greatly reduces friction by facilitating motion by rolling together with the use of axles. In order for wheels to rotate, a moment needs to be applied to the wheel about its axis, either by way of gravity, or by the application of another external force or torque.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Wheel

    hwēl, n. a circular frame turning on an axle: an old instrument of torture: a steering-wheel: (fig.) the course of events, from the wheel, one of the attributes of Fortune, the emblem of mutability: (coll.) a bicycle or tricycle: circular motion: principle of life or motion: (Shak.) a refrain: (pl.) chariot: (slang) a dollar.—v.t. to cause to whirl: to convey on wheels: to turn.—v.i. to turn round or on an axis: to roll forward: to change direction: to move in a circle: to change about: (coll.) to ride a bicycle or tricycle.—ns. Wheel′-an′imal, -animal′cule, a rotifer; Wheel′-barrow, a barrow supported on one wheel and two handles, and driven forward by one man; Wheel′-boat, a boat having wheels, for use on water or on inclined planes; Wheel′-carr′iage, any kind of carriage moved on wheels; Wheel′-chair, a chair moving on wheels.—adj. Wheel′-cut, cut, or ground and polished, on a wheel—of glass.—n. Wheel′-cut′ter, a machine for cutting the teeth on watch and clock wheels.—p.adj. Wheeled, having wheels.—ns. Wheel′er, one who wheels: the horse nearest the wheels of a carriage: a maker of wheels; Wheel′-horse, one of the horses next the wheels in a team; Wheel′-house, a box or small house erected over the steering-wheel in ships: a paddle-box; Wheel′ing, the act of moving or conveying on wheels: a turning or circular movement of troops; Wheel′-lock, a lock for firing a gun by means of a small steel wheel; Wheel′man, a steersman: a cyclist; Wheel′-plough, a plough the depth of whose furrow is regulated by a wheel; Wheel′-race, the part of a race in which the water-wheel is fixed; Wheel′-tax, a tax on carriages; Wheel′-win′dow, a circular window with radiating tracery; Wheel′-work, a combination of wheels and their connection in machinery; Wheel′wright, a wright who makes wheels and wheel-carriages.—adj. Wheel′y, like a wheel.—Wheel and axle, one of the mechanical powers, in its primitive form a cylindrical axle, on which a wheel, concentric with the axle, is firmly fastened, the power being applied to the wheel, and the weight attached to the axis; Wheel of life (see Zoetrope); Wheels within wheels, a complication of circumstances.—Break a butterfly (fly, &c.) upon the wheel, to inflict a punishment out of all proportion to the offence: to employ great exertions for insignificant ends. [A.S. hwéol; Ice. hjól.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. wheel

    [from slang ‘big wheel’ for a powerful person] A person who has an active wheel bit. “We need to find a wheel to unwedge the hung tape drives.” (See wedged, sense 1.) The traditional name of security group zero in BSD (to which the major system-internal users like root belong) is ‘wheel’. Some vendors have expanded on this usage, modifying Unix so that only members of group ‘wheel’ can go root.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. wheel

    A general name for the helm, by which the tiller and rudder are worked in steering the ship; it has a barrel, round which the tiller-ropes or chains wind, and a wheel with spokes to assist in moving it.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. wheel

    See Ordnance, Carriages For, The Caisson.

Editors Contribution

  1. wheel

    A type of product or device created and designed in various colors, materials, mechanisms, shapes, sizes and styles.

    Wheels are a component of various things e.g. bicycle, vehicles, etc.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 13, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. wheel

    The wheel symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the wheel symbol and its characteristic.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. WHEEL

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wheel is ranked #114424 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Wheel surname appeared 153 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Wheel.

    85.6% or 131 total occurrences were White.
    14.3% or 22 total occurrences were Black.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'wheel' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3830

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'wheel' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3121

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'wheel' in Nouns Frequency: #1082

How to pronounce wheel?

How to say wheel in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of wheel in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of wheel in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of wheel in a Sentence

  1. The Finn:

    Not much to talk about. I lost a wheel and retired and that's about it, it was tight. If you ask him, for sure he's going to blame me. But I'm sure if he'd gone over the kerb there would have been space. But obviously it was quite slippery there so he locked a bit the front wheel.

  2. Gilbert Keith Chesterton:

    The soul goes round upon a wheel of stars and all things return....Good and evil go round in a wheel that is one thing and not many. Do you not realise in your heart, do you not believe behind all your beliefs, that there is but one reality and we are its shadows and that all things are but aspects of one thing a centre where men melt into Man and Man into God 'No,' said Father Brown.

  3. Confucius:

    The wheel of fortune turns round incessantly, and who can say to himself, I shall to-day be uppermost.

  4. Robert Burton:

    Like dogs in a wheel, birds in a cage, or squirrels in a chain, ambitious men still climb and climb, with great labor, and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top.

  5. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk:

    We're being especially cautious at this stage so we're advising drivers to keep their hands on the wheel just in case, over time there will not be a need to have your hands on the wheel.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for wheel

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    pleasing in appearance especially by reason of conformity to ideals of form and proportion
    • A. handsome
    • B. victimised
    • C. abrupt
    • D. obnoxious

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