at the wheel


[hweel, weel]
a circular frame or disk arranged to revolve on an axis, as on or in vehicles or machinery.
any machine, apparatus, instrument, etc., shaped like this or having a circular frame, disk, or revolving drum as an essential feature: a potter's wheel; roulette wheel; spinning wheel.
a circular frame with an axle connecting to the rudder of a ship, for steering: He took the wheel during the storm.
a propeller.
Informal. a bicycle.
a round object, decoration, etc.: a wheel of cheese; a design of red wheels and blue squares.
an old instrument of torture in the form of a circular frame on which the victim was stretched until disjointed.
a circular firework that revolves rapidly while burning; pinwheel.
a rotating instrument that Fortune is represented as turning in order to bring about changes or reverses in human affairs.
moving, propelling, or animating agencies: the wheels of commerce; the wheels of thought.
Slang. a personal means of transportation, especially a car.
a cycle, recurring action, or steady progression: the wheel of days and nights.
a wheeling or circular movement: the intricate wheels of the folk dances.
(formerly) a movement of troops, ships, etc., drawn up in line, as if turning on a pivot.
Informal. someone active and influential, as in business, politics, etc.; an important person: a big wheel.
verb (used with object)
to cause to turn, rotate, or revolve, as on an axis.
to perform (a movement) in a circular or curving direction.
to move, roll, or convey on wheels, casters, etc.: The servants wheel the tables out.
to provide (a vehicle, machine, etc.) with wheels.
verb (used without object)
to turn on or as on an axis or about a center; revolve, rotate, or pivot.
to move in a circular or curving course: pigeons wheeling above.
to turn so as to face in a different direction (often followed by about or around ): He wheeled about and faced his opponent squarely.
to change one's opinion or procedure (often followed by about or around ): He wheeled around and argued for the opposition.
to roll along on or as on wheels; travel along smoothly: The car wheeled along the highway.
British Military. to turn: Right wheel!
at the wheel,
at the helm of a ship, the steering wheel of a motor vehicle, etc.
in command or control: Her ambition is to be at the wheel of a large corporation by the age of 40.
hell on wheels. hell ( def 19 ).
spin one's wheels, Informal. to expend or waste effort to no avail: He spun his wheels on that project for two years.
wheel and deal, Informal. to operate dynamically for one's own profit or benefit.
wheels within wheels, an involved interaction of motives or agencies operating to produce the final result: Government agencies are a study of wheels within wheels.

before 900; (noun) Middle English whel(e), Old English hwēol, hweohl; cognate with Dutch wiel, Old Norse hjōl; akin to Greek kýklos (see cycle); (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun

wheelless, adjective
underwheel, noun
unwheel, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source Link To at the wheel
World English Dictionary
wheel (wiːl)
1.  a solid disc, or a circular rim joined to a hub by radial or tangential spokes, that is mounted on a shaft about which it can turn, as in vehicles and machines
2.  anything like a wheel in shape or function
3.  a device consisting of or resembling a wheel or having a wheel as its principal component: a steering wheel; a water wheel
4.  the wheel a medieval torture consisting of a wheel to which the victim was tied and then had his limbs struck and broken by an iron bar
5.  wheel of fortune short for potter's wheel
6.  the act of turning
7.  a pivoting movement of troops, ships, etc
8.  a type of firework coiled to make it rotate when let off
9.  Compare bob a set of short rhyming lines, usually four or five in number, forming the concluding part of a stanza
10.  the disc in which the ball is spun in roulette
11.  (US), (Canadian) an informal word for bicycle
12.  archaic a refrain
13.  informal chiefly (US), (Canadian) a person of great influence (esp in the phrase big wheel)
14.  at the wheel
 a.  driving or steering a vehicle or vessel
 b.  in charge
vb (when intr sometimes foll by about or round) (often foll by about)
15.  to turn or cause to turn on or as if on an axis
16.  to move or cause to move on or as if on wheels; roll
17.  (tr) to perform with or in a circular movement
18.  (tr) to provide with a wheel or wheels
19.  to change one's mind or opinion
20.  informal wheel and deal to be a free agent, esp to advance one's own interests
[Old English hweol, hweowol; related to Old Norse hvēl, Greek kuklos, Middle Low German wēl, Dutch wiel]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. hweol, hweogol, from P.Gmc. *khwekhwlan, *khwegwlan (cf. O.N. hvel, O.Swed. hiughl, O.Fris. hwel, M.Du. weel), from PIE *k(w)e-k(w)lo- "wheel, circle" (cf. O.C.S. kolo "wheel"), a reduplicated form from base *k(w)el- "to go round" (see cycle). Figurative sense is early
14c. The verb meaning "to turn like a wheel" is attested from early 13c.; trans. sense attested from late 14c. Slang wheels "a car" is recorded from 1959. Wheeler-dealer is from 1950s, a rhyming elaboration of dealer; wheelie is from 1966. Wheelchair first recorded c.1700.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Wheel definition

(Heb. galgal; rendered "wheel" in Ps. 83:13, and "a rolling thing" in Isa. 17:13; R.V. in both, "whirling dust"). This word has been supposed to mean the wild artichoke, which assumes the form of a globe, and in autumn breaks away from its roots, and is rolled about by the wind in some places in great numbers.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at the wheel

In command, in control. For example, Ann hated being told what to do; she wanted to be at the wheel by herself. The analogy here is to the steering wheel of an automobile or other vehicle, or the helm of a vessel. For a synonym, see at the helm.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Idioms & Phrases
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature