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Blech. These are the grossest words.


[rohl] /roʊl/
verb (used without object)
to move along a surface by revolving or turning over and over, as a ball or a wheel.
to move or be moved on wheels, as a vehicle or its occupants.
to flow or advance in a stream or with an undulating motion, as water, waves, or smoke.
to extend in undulations, as land.
to elapse, pass, or move, as time (often followed by on, away, or by).
to move as in a cycle (usually followed by round or around):
as soon as summer rolls round again.
to perform a periodical revolution in an orbit, as a heavenly body.
to emit or have a deep, prolonged sound, as thunder, drums, etc.
to trill, as a bird.
to revolve or turn over, once or repeatedly, as a wheel on an axis or a person or animal lying down.
to turn around in different directions or in a circle, as the eyes in their sockets.
  1. to rock from side to side in open water.
    Compare heave (def 14b), pitch1 (def 20).
  2. to sail with a side-to-side rocking motion.
to walk with a swinging or swaying gait.
Informal. to begin to move or operate; start; commence:
Let's roll at sunrise.
Informal. to go forward or advance without restrictions or impediments:
The economy is finally beginning to roll.
to curl up so as to form a tube or cylinder.
to admit of being formed into a tube or cylinder by curling up.
to be spread out after being curled up (usually followed by out).
to spread out as under a roller:
The paint rolls easily.
Aviation. (of an aircraft or rocket) to deviate from a stable flight attitude by rotation about its longitudinal axis.
verb (used with object)
to cause to move along a surface by revolving or turning over and over, as a cask, a ball, or a hoop.
to move along on wheels or rollers; convey in a wheeled vehicle.
to drive, impel, or cause to flow onward with a sweeping or undulating motion:
The wind rolled the waves high on the beach.
to utter or give forth with a full, flowing, continuous sound:
rolling his orotund phrases.
to trill:
to roll one's r's.
to cause to revolve or turn over or over and over:
to roll oneself on one's face.
to cause to sway or rock from side to side, as a ship.
to wrap (something) around an axis, around upon itself, or into a cylindrical shape, ball, or the like:
to roll string.
to make by forming a tube or cylinder:
to roll a cigarette.
to spread out flat (something curled up) (often followed by out):
He rolled the map out on the table.
to wrap, enfold, or envelop, as in some covering:
to roll a child in a blanket.
to spread out, level, smooth, compact, or the like, as with a rolling pin, roller, the hands, etc.:
to roll dough; to roll a tennis court.
to form (metal) in a rolling mill.
to tumble (metal pieces and abrasives) in a box or barrel in such a way that their relative positions remain the same.
to beat (a drum) with rapid, continuous strokes.
(in certain games, as craps) to cast, or throw (dice).
Printing. to apply (ink) with a roller or series of rollers.
Slang. to rob, especially by going through the pockets of a victim who is either asleep or drunk.
a document of paper, parchment, or the like, that is or may be rolled up, as for storing; scroll.
a list, register, or catalog, especially one containing the names of the persons belonging to a company, class, society, etc.
anything rolled up in a ringlike or cylindrical form:
a roll of wire.
a number of papers or other items rolled up together.
a length of cloth, wallpaper, or the like, rolled up in cylindrical form (often forming a definite measure).
a cylindrical or rounded mass of something:
rolls of fat.
some article of cylindrical or rounded form, as a molding.
a cylindrical piece upon which something is rolled along to facilitate moving.
a cylinder serving as a core upon which something is rolled up.
a roller with which something is spread out, leveled, crushed, smoothed, compacted, or the like.
  1. thin cake spread with jelly or the like and rolled up.
  2. a small cake of bread, originally and still often rolled or doubled on itself before baking.
  3. meat rolled up and cooked.
the act or process or an instance of rolling.
undulation, as of a surface:
the roll of a prairie.
a sonorous or rhythmical flow of words.
a deep, prolonged sound, as of thunder:
the deep roll of a breaking wave.
the trill of certain birds, especially of the roller canary.
the continuous sound of a drum rapidly beaten.
a rolling motion, as of a ship.
a rolling or swaying gait.
  1. a single, complete rotation of an airplane about the axis of the fuselage with little loss of altitude or change of direction.
  2. (of an aircraft or rocket) the act of rolling.
  3. the angular displacement caused by rolling.
  1. paper currency carried folded or rolled up:
    He took out an impressive roll and paid the check with a $100 bill.
  2. bankroll; funds:
    People were encouraged to shoot their rolls on mining speculation.
  1. a single cast of or turn at casting the dice.
  2. the total number of pips or points made by a single cast; score or point.
Verb phrases
roll back, to reduce (the price of a commodity, wages, etc.) to a former level, usually in response to government action.
roll in, Informal.
  1. to luxuriate in; abound in:
    rolling in money.
  2. to go to bed; retire:
    They would roll in later and later every night.
  3. to mix and average the cost of (a higher-priced commodity or item) with that of a cheaper one so as to increase the retail price.
  4. to add:
    Labor wants to roll in periodic increases with their wage demands.
  5. to arrive, especially in large numbers or quantity:
    When do my dividends start rolling in?
roll out,
  1. to spread out or flatten:
    to roll out dough.
  2. Informal. to arise from bed; get up:
    It was nearly impossible to roll out on the first day back after vacation.
  3. Football. to execute a rollout.
  4. Informal. to introduce; unveil:
    a TV advertising campaign to roll out the new car.
roll over,
  1. Business. to reinvest funds, especially a tax-free transfer of assets from one retirement plan to another.
  2. to overturn:
    The truck rolled over, and the driver hung by her seatbelt.
  3. to turn over:
    I rolled over in my sleep and nearly fell out of bed.
roll up,
  1. to accumulate; collect:
    to roll up a large vote.
  2. to increase.
  3. to arrive in a conveyance:
    He rolled up to the front door in a chauffeur-driven limousine.
on a roll,
  1. (in a gambling game) having a continuing winning streak.
  2. enjoying continuing good luck or success:
    She's been on a roll since taking that course on sales techniques.
roll in the hay, Slang. an instance of sexual intercourse.
roll one's eyes, to turn one's eyes around in different directions or in a circle, especially as an expression of disbelief, annoyance, or impatience:
He rolled his eyes when he heard the stupid joke.
roll with the punches. punch1 (def 16).
strike off / from the rolls, to remove from membership or practice, as to disbar:
He will surely be struck off the rolls if this conduct continues.
Origin of roll
1175-1225; (noun) (in senses referring to rolled or round objects) Middle English: scroll, inscribed scroll, register, cylindrical object < Old French ro(u)lle < Latin rotulus, rotula small wheel, diminutive of rota wheel (see rotate1, -ule); (in senses referring to motion) derivative of the v.; (v.) Middle English rollen < Old French rol(l)er < Vulgar Latin *rotulare, derivative of Latin rotulus, rotula
Related forms
rollable, adjective
reroll, verb
unrollable, adjective
well-rolled, adjective
Can be confused
role, roll.
1. revolve, rotate. 3. wave, undulate. 4. undulate. 12. swing, tilt. 40. See list1 . 47. spindle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for roll
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He laid a roll of type-written documents on the table and rose.

    A Speckled Bird Augusta J. Evans Wilson
  • It took but a moment for him to find the shell, for he had seen it roll from the other's hand.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • Somebody give him a push, please, and get him to roll his hoop.

    Endurance Test Alan Douglas
  • Her hands, which held the roll of parchment, dropped down upon her lap.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • Presently the supposed Indian drew from his belt a pouch of tobacco and some cigarette papers, and proceeded to roll a cigarette.

    Ted Strong in Montana Edward C. Taylor
British Dictionary definitions for roll


to move or cause to move along by turning over and over
to move or cause to move along on wheels or rollers
to flow or cause to flow onwards in an undulating movement: billows of smoke rolled over the ground
(intransitive) (of animals, etc) to turn onto the back and kick: the hills roll down to the sea
(intransitive) to extend in undulations: the hills roll down to the sea
(intransitive) usually foll by around. to move or occur in cycles
(intransitive) (of a planet, the moon, etc) to revolve in an orbit
(intransitive; foll by on, by, etc) to pass or elapse: the years roll by
to rotate or cause to rotate wholly or partially: to roll one's eyes
to curl, cause to curl, or admit of being curled, so as to form a ball, tube, or cylinder; coil
to make or form by shaping into a ball, tube, or cylinder: to roll a cigarette
(often foll by out) to spread or cause to spread out flat or smooth under or as if under a roller: to roll the lawn, to roll pastry
to emit, produce, or utter with a deep prolonged reverberating sound: the thunder rolled continuously
to trill or cause to be trilled: to roll one's r's
(intransitive) (of a vessel, aircraft, rocket, etc) to turn from side to side around the longitudinal axis Compare pitch1 (sense 11), yaw (sense 1)
to cause (an aircraft) to execute a roll or (of an aircraft) to execute a roll (sense 40) (of an aircraft) to execute or cause an aircraft to execute a roll (sense 41)
(intransitive) to walk with a swaying gait, as when drunk; sway
(intransitive) often foll by over. (of an animal, esp a dog) to lie on its back and wriggle while kicking its legs in the air, without moving along
(intransitive) to wallow or envelop oneself (in)
(transitive) to apply ink to (type, etc) with a roller or rollers
to throw (dice)
(intransitive) to operate or begin to operate: the presses rolled
(intransitive) (informal) to make progress; move or go ahead: let the good times roll
(transitive) (informal, mainly US & NZ) to rob (a helpless person, such as someone drunk or asleep)
(transitive) (slang) to have sexual intercourse or foreplay with (a person)
start the ball rolling, set the ball rolling, to open or initiate (an action, discussion, movement, etc)
the act or an instance of rolling
anything rolled up in a cylindrical form: a roll of newspaper
an official list or register, esp of names: an electoral roll
a rounded mass: rolls of flesh
a strip of material, esp leather, fitted with pockets or pouches for holding tools, toilet articles, needles and thread, etc
a cylinder used to flatten something; roller
a small loaf of bread for one person: eaten plain, with butter, or as a light meal when filled with meat, cheese, etc
a flat pastry or cake rolled up with a meat (sausage roll), jam (jam roll), or other filling See also swiss roll
a swell, ripple, or undulation on a surface: the roll of the hills
a swaying, rolling, or unsteady movement or gait
a deep prolonged reverberating sound: the roll of thunder
a rhythmic cadenced flow of words
a trilling sound; trill
a very rapid beating of the sticks on a drum
a flight manoeuvre in which an aircraft makes one complete rotation about its longitudinal axis without loss of height or change in direction
the angular displacement of a vessel, rocket, missile, etc, caused by rolling
a throw of dice
a bookbinder's tool having a brass wheel, used to impress a line or repeated pattern on the cover of a book
(slang) an act of sexual intercourse or petting (esp in the phrase a roll in the hay)
(US, slang) an amount of money, esp a wad of paper money
(slang) on a roll, experiencing continued good luck or success
strike off the roll, strike off the rolls
  1. to expel from membership
  2. to debar (a solicitor) from practising, usually because of dishonesty
Word Origin
C14 rollen, from Old French roler, from Latin rotulus a little wheel, from rota a wheel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for roll

early 13c., "rolled-up piece of parchment or paper" (especially one inscribed with an official record), from Old French rolle "document, parchment scroll, decree" (12c.), from Medieval Latin rotulus "a roll of paper" (source also of Spanish rollo, Italian ruollo), from Latin rotula "small wheel," diminutive of rota "wheel" (see rotary).

Meaning "a register, list, catalogue" is from late 14c., common from c.1800. Meaning "dough which is rolled before baking" is first recorded mid-15c. Sense of "act of rolling" is from 1743. Meaning "quantity of material rolled up" is from late 14c.; meaning "quantity of paper money" is from 1846; sense of "quantity of (rolled) film" is from 1890. Meaning "act of sexual intercourse" is attested from 1942 (roll in the hay), from roll (v.). Dutch rol, German Rolle, Danish rulle, etc. are from French.


c.1300 "turn over and over, move by rotating" (intransitive); late 14c. as "to move (something) by turning it over and over;" from Old French roeller "roll, wheel round" (Modern French rouler), from Medieval Latin rotulare, from Latin rotula, diminutive of rota "wheel" (see rotary). Related: Rolled; rolling.

Of sounds (e.g. thunder) somehow suggestive of a rolling ball, 1590s; of a drum from 1680s. Of eyes, from late 14c. Of a movie camera, "to start filming," from 1938. Sense of "rob a stuporous drunk" is from 1873, from the action required to get to his pockets. To roll up "gather, congregate" is from 1861, originally Australian. To be on a roll is from 1976. To roll with the punches is a metaphor from boxing (1940). Heads will roll is a Hitlerism:

If our movement is victorious there will be a revolutionary tribunal which will punish the crimes of November 1918. Then decapitated heads will roll in the sand. [1930]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for roll



  1. Money; funds; bankroll (1846+)
  2. The sex act; a ROLL IN THE HAY (1940s+)


  1. To rob, esp a stuporous or helpless drunkard who is literally rolled over for access to pockets: rolling a stiff/ the less perilous profession of rolling lushes (1873+)
  2. To displace another worker: Negro firemen on the good runs should be ''rolled'' by whites (1950s+ Railroad)
  3. To run or start a movie camera: Quiet, and roll 'em (1939+ Movie studio)

Related Terms

jackroll, jelly-roll, log roll, michigan roll, on a roll, press roll, rock

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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roll in the Bible

the common form of ancient books. The Hebrew word rendered "roll" or "volume" is _meghillah_, found in Ezra 6:2; Ps. 40:7; Jer. 36:2, 6, 23, 28, 29; Ezek. 2:9; 3:1-3; Zech. 5:1, 2. "Rolls" (Chald. pl. of sephar, corresponding to Heb. sepher) in Ezra 6:1 is rendered in the Revised Version "archives." In the New Testament the word "volume" (Heb. 10:7; R.V., "roll") occurs as the rendering of the Greek kephalis, meaning the head or top of the stick or cylinder on which the manuscript was rolled, and hence the manuscript itself. (See BOOK.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with roll
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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