Skip to main content
Select Source:

wheel

wheel / (h)wēl/ • n. 1. a 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. ∎  a circular object that revolves on an axle and forms part of a machine. ∎  (the wheel) used in reference to the cycle of a specified condition or set of events: the final release from the wheel of life. ∎  (the wheel) hist. a large wheel used as an instrument of punishment or torture, esp. by binding someone to it and breaking their limbs: a man sentenced to be broken on the wheel. 2. a machine or structure having a wheel as its essential part. ∎  (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. ∎  a vessel’s propeller or paddle-wheel. ∎  a device with a revolving disk or drum used in various games of chance. ∎  a system, or a part of a system, regarded as a relentlessly moving machine: the wheels of justice. 3. (wheels) inf. a car: she's got wheels now. ∎  a bicycle. 4. a thing resembling a wheel in form or function, in particular a cheese made in the form of a disk. 5. an instance of wheeling; a turn or rotation. 6. inf. short for big wheel. • v. 1. [tr.] push or pull (a vehicle with wheels): the sea sled was wheeled out to the flight deck. ∎  [tr.] carry (someone or something) in or on a vehicle with wheels: a young woman is wheeled into the operating room. ∎  (wheel something in/on/out) inf. produce something that is unimpressive because it has been frequently seen or heard before: the old journalistic arguments have to be wheeled out. 2. [intr.] (of a bird or aircraft) fly in a wide circle or curve: the birds wheeled and dived. ∎  turn around quickly so as to face another way: Robert wheeled around to see the face of Mr. Mafouz. ∎  turn or seem to turn on an axis or pivot: the stars wheeled through the sky. PHRASES: on wheels 1. by, or traveling by, car or bicycle: a journey on wheels. ∎  (of a service) brought to one's home or district; mobile. 2. inf. used to emphasize one's distaste or dislike of the person or thing mentioned: she was a bitch on wheels. wheel and deal engage in commercial or political scheming, esp. unscrupulously: [as n.] (wheeling and dealing) the wheeling and dealing of the Wall Street boom years. the wheel of Fortune the wheel that the deity Fortune is fabled to turn as a symbol of random luck or change.wheels within wheels used to indicate that a situation is complicated and affected by secret or indirect influences.DERIVATIVES: wheeled adj. [in comb.] a four-wheeled cart.wheel·less adj. ORIGIN: Old English hwēol (noun), of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit cakra ‘wheel, circle’ and Greek kuklos ‘circle.’

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wheel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wheel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel-1

"wheel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel-1

wheel

wheel: Through the many millennia of the Paleolithic period and the Neolithic period no use of the wheel was known to humans. Its use was not known to the Native Americans until the Europeans introduced it. In the Old World it came into use in the Bronze Age, when oxen and horses were first used as draft animals and wheeled vehicles were devised. Wheels for vehicles were at first solid wooden disks; spoked wheels were introduced c.2700 BC The potter's wheel was invented in the Bronze Age, earlier pottery being made, like that of the Native Americans, without the use of the wheel. See gear; tire; wheel and axle.

See R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology (1955); E. Tunis, Wheels (1955); W. Owen et al., ed., Wheels (1972).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wheel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wheel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wheel

"wheel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wheel

wheel

wheel a wheel is the emblem of St Catherine of Alexandria (a wheel here is the instrument on which the bodies of criminals were broken as a method of execution).
wheel of Fortune the wheel which Fortune is fabled to turn, as an emblem of mutability. Also called Fortune's wheel.
wheels within wheels used to indicate that a situation is complicated and affected by secret or indirect influences; perhaps originally after the description of the vision of four creatures in Ezekiel 1:16.

See also break a butterfly on a wheel, the wheel has come full circle, fly on the wheel, oil the wheels, spin one's wheels.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wheel." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wheel." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel

"wheel." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel

wheel

wheel Circular structure that revolves around a central axis. Before the wheel was invented, heavy loads were sometimes moved by rolling them on logs or on rounded stones. More than 5000 years ago, sections of tree trunks were cut to form the first wheels for carts. Spoked wheels were introduced several hundred years later. Eventually, the wheel was used in simple machines, such as the waterwheel and potter's wheel.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wheel." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wheel." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wheel

"wheel." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wheel

wheel

wheel sb. OE. hwēol, hweogol, hweowol = (M)LG. wēl, (M)Du. wiel, ON. hjól, hvél :- Gmc. *χwe(ʒ)ula, *χweχula :- IE. *qeqlo-, repr. by Skr. cakrá- wheel, Gr. kúklos CYCLE (rel. to Gr. pólos axis).
Hence wheel vb. intr. XIII, tr. XIV. wheeler (-ER1) wheelwright XV. wheel-wright XIII.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wheel." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wheel." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel-2

"wheel." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel-2

wheel

wheelallele, 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, wheel, zeal •airmobile • Dormobile • snowmobile •Popemobile • bookmobile •automobile • piecemeal •sweetmeal, wheatmeal •fishmeal • inchmeal • cornmeal •wholemeal • bonemeal • oatmeal •kriegspiel • bonspiel • Glockenspiel •newsreel • imbecile • Jugendstil •cartwheel • treadwheel • millwheel •pinwheel • flywheel • gearwheel •waterwheel

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wheel." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wheel." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel-0

"wheel." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wheel-0