• synonyms


[rou-uh l]
See more synonyms for rowel on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small wheel with radiating points, forming the extremity of a spur.
  2. Veterinary Medicine. a piece of leather or the like inserted beneath the skin of a horse or other animal to promote drainage of an infection.
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verb (used with object), row·eled, row·el·ing or (especially British) row·elled, row·el·ling.
  1. to prick or urge with a rowel.
  2. Veterinary Medicine. to insert a rowel in.
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Origin of rowel

1350–1400; Middle English rowelle < Middle French ruelle, Old French roel < Late Latin rotella, equivalent to Latin rot(a) wheel + -ella -elle
Related formsun·row·eled; especially British un·row·elled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rowel

Historical Examples

  • A few horse-hairs twisted and caught in the sharp points of the rowel.

    Susy, A Story of the Plains

    Bret Harte

  • The rowel of his spur rattled as he jerked his foot up and down at the ankle.

    A Tar-Heel Baron

    Mabell Shippie Clarke Pelton

  • Rowel threw the whole weight of his body upon him to stop that tongue.

  • I am afraid, Mr. Rowel, the case is a very serious one indeed.

  • "From the very nature of things, my dear," Mr. Rowel replied.

British Dictionary definitions for rowel


  1. a small spiked wheel attached to a spur
  2. vet science obsolete a piece of leather or other material inserted under the skin of a horse to act as a seton and allow drainage
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verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (tr)
  1. to goad (a horse) using a rowel
  2. vet science obsolete to insert a rowel in (the skin of a horse) to allow drainage
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French roel a little wheel, from roe a wheel, from Latin rota
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 rowel


"pointed wheel on a spur," mid-14c., from Old French roelle, roel (Modern French rouelle), "small wheel" (see roulette).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper