verb (used with object)

to render (water, wine, etc.) turbid by stirring up sediment.
to disturb or disquiet; irritate; vex: to be roiled by a delay.

verb (used without object)

to move or proceed turbulently.

Origin of roil

First recorded in 1580–90; origin uncertain
Related formsun·roiled, adjective
Can be confusedroil royal

Synonyms for roil Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for roiling

Contemporary Examples of roiling

Historical Examples of roiling

  • He was looking up at her, as if struck dumb, roiling his eye wildly.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • What cared they that the ship was roiling and tumbling about?

    True Blue

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • He plunged about frantically and churned up the water, roiling the stream.


    Clarence Hawkes

  • Whitecaps and a roiling sea told him there was plenty of wind in the squall.

    The Flying Stingaree

    Harold Leland Goodwin

  • Roiling waters met the prows from end to end of the straits.

British Dictionary definitions for roiling



(tr) to make (a liquid) cloudy or turbid by stirring up dregs or sediment
(intr) (esp of a liquid) to be agitated or disturbed
(intr) dialect to be noisy or boisterous
(tr) another word (now rare) for rile (def. 1)

Word Origin for roil

C16: of unknown origin; compare rile
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 roiling



1580s, of uncertain origin, probably from Middle French rouiller "to rust, make muddy," from Old French roil "mud, muck, rust" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *robicula, from Latin robigo "rust" (see robust). An earlier borrowing of the French verb is Middle English roil "to roam or rove about" (early 14c.). Related: Roiled; roiling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper