Origin of roller

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at roll, -er1

Synonyms for roller



noun Ornithology.

any of several Old World birds of the family Coraciidae that tumble or roll over in flight, especially in the breeding season.
one of a variety of canaries having a warbling or trilling song.

Origin of roller

1655–65; < German Roller, derivative of rollen to roll Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for roller

Contemporary Examples of roller

Historical Examples of roller

  • Such is said to have been the origin of roller printing on calico.


    Samuel Smiles

  • She swung sideways on a roller, and gesticulated with her jib-boom from port to starboard.

    "Captains Courageous"

    Rudyard Kipling

  • He was named in meeting; the name tossed from roller to roller.

    "Captains Courageous"

    Rudyard Kipling

  • A roller broke over the boat, and left a foot of water in the bottom.

    Left on the Labrador

    Dillon Wallace

  • The cloth is dyed by means of passing over a roller into a dye vat.


    William H. Dooley

British Dictionary definitions for roller



a cylinder having an absorbent surface and a handle, used for spreading paint
Also called: garden roller a heavy cast-iron cylinder or pair of cylinders on an axle to which a handle is attached; used for flattening lawns
a long heavy wave of the sea, advancing towards the shoreCompare breaker 1 (def. 2)
a hardened cylinder of precision-ground steel that forms one of the rolling components of a roller bearing or of a linked driving chain
a cylinder fitted on pivots, used to enable heavy objects to be easily moved; castor
printing a cylinder, usually of hard rubber, used to ink a forme or plate before impression
a cylindrical tube or barrel onto which material is rolled for transport or storage
any of various other cylindrical devices that rotate about a cylinder, used for any of various purposes
a small cylinder, esp one that is heated, onto which a woman's hair may be rolled to make it curl
med a bandage consisting of a long strip of muslin or cheesecloth rolled tightly into a cylindrical form before application
a band fastened around a horse's belly to keep a blanket in position
any of various Old World birds of the family Coraciidae, such as Coracias garrulus (European roller), that have a blue, green, and brown plumage, a slightly hooked bill, and an erratic flight: order Coraciiformes (kingfishers, etc)
(often capital) a variety of tumbler pigeon that performs characteristic backward somersaults in flight
a breed of canary that has a soft trilling song in which the notes are run together
a person or thing that rolls
Australian a man who rolls and trims fleeces after shearing
short for roller caption
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 roller

late 13c., "thing that rolls;" early 15c., "rolling pin," agent noun from roll (v.). Meaning "hair-curler" is attested from 1795. Roller derby is from 1936 (see derby); roller hockey from 1926. Disparaging religious term holy roller is attested from 1842, American English, from the alleged rolling in the church aisles done by those in the Spirit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper