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wheel (wēl, hwēl)
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n.
1. A solid disk or a rigid circular ring connected by spokes to a hub, designed to turn around an axle passed through the center.
2. Something resembling such a disk or ring in appearance or movement or having a wheel as its principal part or characteristic, as:
a. The steering device on a vehicle.
b. A potter's wheel.
c. A water wheel.
d. A spinning wheel.
e. Games A device used in roulette and other games of chance.
f. A firework that rotates while burning.
g. Informal A bicycle.
h. An instrument to which a victim was bound for torture during the Middle Ages.
3. wheels Forces that provide energy, movement, or direction: the wheels of commerce.
4. The act or process of turning; revolution or rotation.
5. A military maneuver executed in order to change the direction of movement of a formation, as of troops or ships, in which the formation is maintained while the outer unit describes an arc and the inner or center unit remains stationary as a pivot.
6. wheels Slang A motor vehicle or access thereto: Do you have wheels tonight?
7. Slang A person with a great deal of power or influence: a wheel in state government.
v. wheeled, wheel·ing, wheels
v.tr.
1. To roll, move, or transport on wheels or a wheel.
2. To cause to turn around or as if around a central axis; revolve or rotate.
3. To provide with wheels or a wheel.
v.intr.
1. To turn around or as if around a central axis; revolve or rotate.
2. To roll or move on or as if on wheels or a wheel.
3. To fly in a curving or circular course: A flock of gulls wheeled just above the dock.
4. To turn or whirl around in place; pivot: "The boy wheeled and the fried eggs leaped from his tray" (Ivan Gold).
5. To reverse one's opinion or practice: Don't be surprised if the boss wheels about on that idea.
Idioms:
at/behind the wheel
1. Operating the steering mechanism of a vehicle; driving.
2. Directing or controlling; in charge.
wheel and deal Informal
To engage in the advancement of one's own interests, especially in a canny, aggressive, or unscrupulous way.

[Middle English, from Old English hwēol; see kwel-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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