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


12 swing, tilt.
40 See list1.
47 spindle.

Related forms

roll·a·ble, adjectivere·roll, verbun·roll·a·ble, adjectivewell-rolled, adjective

Can be confused

role roll

Definition for roll on (2 of 2)


[ rohl-on, -awn ]
/ ˈroʊlˌɒn, -ˌɔn /


packaged in a tubelike container one end of which is equipped with a rotating ball that dispenses and spreads the liquid content directly.


a roll-on preparation: spray deodorants and roll-ons.

Origin of roll-on

First recorded in 1945–50; adj., noun use of verb phrase roll on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for roll on (1 of 2)

roll on


British used to express the wish that an eagerly anticipated event or date will come quicklyroll on Saturday

adjective roll-on

(of a deodorant, lip gloss, etc) dispensed by means of a revolving ball fitted into the neck of the container

noun roll-on

a woman's foundation garment, made of elasticized material and having no fastenings
a liquid cosmetic, esp a deodorant, packed in a container having an applicator consisting of a revolving ball

British Dictionary definitions for roll on (2 of 2)


/ (rəʊl) /



Word Origin for roll

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

Idioms and Phrases with roll on


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

also see:

  • easy as pie (rolling off a log)
  • get rolling
  • get the ball rolling
  • heads will roll
  • on a roll
  • red carpet

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.