• synonyms


[kahrt-hweel, -weel]
  1. the wheel of a cart.
  2. an acrobatic feat in which a person starts from a standing position, with arms extended, and wheels the body sideways, landing first on the hands and then on the feet and usually repeating this in a series.
  3. Slang. any large coin, especially a U.S. silver dollar.
  4. Slang. an amphetamine tablet.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to roll forward end over end: The skier took a sudden spill and cartwheeled down the slope.
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Origin of cartwheel

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at cart, wheel
Related formscart·wheel·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cartwheel

Historical Examples

  • Say, you haven't got a cartwheel instead of this wrapping paper, have you?

    Free Air

    Sinclair Lewis

  • Here has been Cartwheel, your sweetheart; what will become of him?

    The Recruiting Officer

    George Farquhar

  • He gave a shriek and dodged back, and a cartwheel shaved him narrowly.

  • I managed to inject some into the discussion and it was like grease to a cartwheel.

    From the Bottom Up

    Alexander Irvine

  • Serious accident; a cartwheel passes over The Widow's child.

British Dictionary definitions for cartwheel


  1. the wheel of a cart, usually having wooden spokes and metal tyres
  2. an acrobatic movement in which the body makes a sideways revolution supported on the hands with arms and legs outstretched
  3. US slang a large coin, esp the silver dollar
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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

Word Origin and History for cartwheel


late 14c., "wheel of a cart," from cart (n.) + wheel (n.). Meaning "lateral somersault" is recorded from 1861; as a verb from 1907. Related: Cartwheeled; cartwheeling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper