General English


  • noun a circular, rotating, load-carrying part between the tyre and axle, or the whole wheel and tyre assembly on which a vehicle rolls

Cars & Driving

  • noun a rotating, load-carrying member between the tyre and axle consisting of a rim and a wheel disc or spider; a wheel must be designed to support the tyre while withstanding loads from acceleration, braking and cornering; as part of the unsprung mass of a car, it must be light


  • verb (of a slow bowler) to bowl for long periods
    Citation ‘In those four innings he wheeled down 57, 56.5, 60 and 64.5 six-ball overs for a total of 87 maidens and 19 wickets’ (Frith 1984)
    Citation ‘He wheeled away from the Cathedral end for hour after hour without finding much turn but his control of length and line was a joy to watch’ (Henry Blofeld, Cricketer February 1983)
    Citation ‘The latter involved Panesar wheeling away at the Rugby stand end while the quick bowlers were rotated coming down the hill’ (Steve James, Guardian 9 August 2006)


  • noun a round piece which turns round an axle, and on which a vehicle runs
  • verb to swing round in line

Origin & History of “wheel”

A wheel is etymologically simply something that ‘goes round’. It is a member of a large family of words that goes back to Indo-European *qweqwlo-, which was derived from *qwelo- ‘go round’. other members include Greek kúklos ‘circle’ (source of English cycle), Sanskrit cakrá- ‘circle, wheel’ (source of English chukker), Serbo-Croat and Czech kolo ‘wheel’, and Russian koleso ‘wheel’. Its prehistoric Germanic descendant was *khwekhula, which evolved into Dutch wiel, Swedish and Danish hjul, and English wheel.