- 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.
- (of a vessel)
- 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.
- 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.
- thin cake spread with jelly or the like and rolled up.
- a small cake of bread, originally and still often rolled or doubled on itself before baking.
- 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.
- a single, complete rotation of an airplane about the axis of the fuselage with little loss of altitude or change of direction.
- (of an aircraft or rocket) the act of rolling.
- the angular displacement caused by rolling.
- paper currency carried folded or rolled up: He took out an impressive roll and paid the check with a $100 bill.
- bankroll; funds: People were encouraged to shoot their rolls on mining speculation.
- (in various dice games)
- a single cast of or turn at casting the dice.
- the total number of pips or points made by a single cast; score or point.
- roll back, to reduce (the price of a commodity, wages, etc.) to a former level, usually in response to government action.
- roll in, Informal.
- to luxuriate in; abound in: rolling in money.
- to go to bed; retire: They would roll in later and later every night.
- 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.
- to add: Labor wants to roll in periodic increases with their wage demands.
- to arrive, especially in large numbers or quantity: When do my dividends start rolling in?
- roll out,
- to spread out or flatten: to roll out dough.
- Informal.to arise from bed; get up: It was nearly impossible to roll out on the first day back after vacation.
- Football.to execute a rollout.
- Informal.to introduce; unveil: a TV advertising campaign to roll out the new car.
- roll over,
- Business.to reinvest funds, especially a tax-free transfer of assets from one retirement plan to another.
- to overturn: The truck rolled over, and the driver hung by her seatbelt.
- to turn over: I rolled over in my sleep and nearly fell out of bed.
- roll up,
- to accumulate; collect: to roll up a large vote.
- to increase.
- to arrive in a conveyance: He rolled up to the front door in a chauffeur-driven limousine.
- on a roll,
- (in a gambling game) having a continuing winning streak.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- 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 movementbillows of smoke rolled over the ground
- (intr) (of animals, etc) to turn onto the back and kickthe hills roll down to the sea
- (intr) to extend in undulationsthe hills roll down to the sea
- (intr usually foll by around) to move or occur in cycles
- (intr) (of a planet, the moon, etc) to revolve in an orbit
- (intr ; foll by on, by, etc) to pass or elapsethe years roll by
- to rotate or cause to rotate wholly or partiallyto 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 cylinderto roll a cigarette
- (often foll by out) to spread or cause to spread out flat or smooth under or as if under a rollerto roll the lawn; to roll pastry
- to emit, produce, or utter with a deep prolonged reverberating soundthe thunder rolled continuously
- to trill or cause to be trilledto roll one's r's
- (intr) (of a vessel, aircraft, rocket, etc) to turn from side to side around the longitudinal axisCompare pitch 1 (def. 11), yaw (def. 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 (def. 41)
- (intr) to walk with a swaying gait, as when drunk; sway
- (intr 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
- (intr) to wallow or envelop oneself (in)
- (tr) to apply ink to (type, etc) with a roller or rollers
- to throw (dice)
- (intr) to operate or begin to operatethe presses rolled
- (intr) informal to make progress; move or go aheadlet the good times roll
- (tr) informal, mainly US and NZ to rob (a helpless person, such as someone drunk or asleep)
- (tr) slang to have sexual intercourse or foreplay with (a person)
- start the ball rolling or 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 forma roll of newspaper
- an official list or register, esp of namesan electoral roll
- a rounded massrolls 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 fillingSee also swiss roll
- a swell, ripple, or undulation on a surfacethe roll of the hills
- a swaying, rolling, or unsteady movement or gait
- a deep prolonged reverberating soundthe 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
- on a roll slang experiencing continued good luck or success
- strike off the roll or strike off the rolls
- to expel from membership
- to debar (a solicitor) from practising, usually because of dishonesty
Word Origin and History for on a 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. 
Idioms and Phrases with on a roll
on a roll
On a streak of success or intense activity, as in The team's scored three runs in the last inning and they're really on a roll, or Once the experiment succeeded, Tim was on a roll. This slangy term, alluding to the momentum in the act of rolling, dates from the second half of the 1900s, but roll alone has been used in this sense since the early 1800s.
In addition to the idioms beginning with roll
- roll around
- roll back
- roll in
- rolling stone
- roll in the aisles
- roll in the hay
- roll out
- roll over
- roll the bones
- roll up
- roll up one's sleeves
- roll with the punches
- easy as pie (rolling off a log)
- get rolling
- get the ball rolling
- heads will roll
- on a roll
- red carpet