[ roh-tuh-ree ]
/ ˈroʊ tə ri /


turning or capable of turning around on an axis, as a wheel.
taking place around an axis, as motion.
having a part or parts that turn on an axis, as a machine.

noun, plural ro·ta·ries.

Nearby words

  1. rotachute,
  2. rotameter,
  3. rotan,
  4. rotaplane,
  5. rotarian,
  6. rotary beater,
  7. rotary clothesline,
  8. rotary club,
  9. rotary dial,
  10. rotary engine

Origin of rotary

1725–35; < Medieval Latin rotārius (adj.), equivalent to Latin rot(a) wheel + -ārius -ary

Related formsun·ro·ta·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rotary

British Dictionary definitions for rotary


/ (ˈrəʊtərɪ) /


of, relating to, or operating by rotation
turning or able to turn; revolving

noun plural -ries

a part of a machine that rotates about an axis
US and Canadian a roundabout (for traffic)

Word Origin for rotary

C18: from Medieval Latin rotārius, from Latin 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

Word Origin and History for rotary



1731, from Medieval Latin rotarius "pertaining to wheels," from Latin rota "a wheel, a potter's wheel; wheel for torture," from PIE root *roto- "to run, to turn, to roll" (cf. Sanskrit rathah "car, chariot;" Avestan ratho; Lithuanian ratas "wheel," ritu "I roll;" Old High German rad, German Rad, Dutch rad, Old Frisian reth, Old Saxon rath, Old Irish roth, Welsh rhod "carriage wheel"). The international service club (founded by Paul P. Harris in Chicago in 1905) so called from the practice of clubs entertaining in rotation. Hence Rotarian (1911).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper