[rou-uh l]
  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.
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.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for roweling

Historical Examples of roweling

  • Roweling his horse, Pedro climbed the slope toward Mountain Rancheria.

    When the Owl Cries

    Paul Bartlett

  • Roweling deep, he raced with Death to bring a woman's solace to a dying man.


    Davis Brinton

  • Far to the west a faint report was heard and Pete knew that Skinny was roweling the lathered sides of his straining horse.

    Hopalong Cassidy

    Clarence E. Mulford

  • The old schooner scrunched her way past the Olenia, roweling the yacht's glossy paint and smearing her with tar and slime.

  • Anger burned high in him, and like the bully he was he took it out of his good horse by roweling its sides savagely.

    Oh, You Tex!

    William Macleod Raine

British Dictionary definitions for roweling


  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
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

Word Origin for rowel

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 roweling



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper