Definition of “roll” - English Dictionary

“roll” in British English

See all translations


uk /rəʊl/ us /roʊl/

roll verb (MOVE)

B2 [ I or T, usually + adv/prep ] to (cause something to) move somewhere by turning over and over or from side to side:

The vase rolled off the edge of the table and smashed.
The dog rolled over onto its back.
I rolled the wheel along the side of the road back to the car.

B2 [ I or T, usually + adv/prep ] to move somewhere easily and without sudden movements:

A tear rolled down his cheek.
A wave of cigarette smoke rolled towards me.
The piano's on wheels, so we can roll it into the room.

[ I ] If an aircraft or a ship rolls, it leans to one side and then to the other because of the wind or waves.

[ I ] If a machine is rolling, it is operating:

Just as the television cameras started rolling, it began to pour down with rain.

C2 [ T ] If you roll your eyes, you move them so that you are looking up, to show that you consider someone or something stupid or silly:

When he suggested they should buy a new car, she rolled her eyes in disbelief.

More examples

  • You roll the dice and whoever gets the highest score goes first.
  • An apple rolled out of the bag.
  • He rolled the ball back to the goalkeeper.
  • How do we decide who rolls first?
  • The ship was rolling violently from side to side.

roll verb (TURN OVER)

B1 [ T usually + adv/prep ] to (cause something to) turn over onto itself to form the shape of a ball or a tube:

He rolled the clay into a ball in his hands.
As I got closer, the hedgehog rolled itself (up) into a ball.

[ T ] to make a cigarette by wrapping a piece of paper around some tobacco

[ I or T, + adv/prep ] to fold over a piece of clothing or material to make it shorter:

We rolled back the carpet to see the floorboards.

More examples

  • He rolled a cigarette while he was waiting.
  • You should roll your sleeves up if you don't want them to get dirty.
  • By rolling up his sleeping bag he was able to fit it into his rucksack.
  • Roll the mixture in your hands and then dip it into the batter.
  • She rolled up the newspaper and used it to swat the fly.

roll verb (SOUND)

[ I ] to make a continuous, repeated, deep sound:

The drums rolled as the acrobat walked along the tightrope.

[ T ] If you roll your r's, you pronounce them with your tongue moving quickly and repeatedly against the top of the mouth:

When you speak Spanish you roll your r's.


uk /rəʊl/ us /roʊl/

roll noun (TUBE)

B2 [ C ] a piece of film, paper, or cloth that is rolled into the shape of a tube:

a roll of carpet
a toilet roll (= a roll of toilet paper)

[ C ] If a person or animal has rolls of fat on their body, he, she, or it is very fat:

The dog had rolls of fat along its neck.

More examples

  • a roll of film
  • loo roll
  • a roll of Sellotape
  • a roll of wallpaper
  • a roll of clingfilm

roll noun (LIST)

[ C ] an official list of names:

Is your name on the electoral roll (= the list of people who can vote)?
take/call the roll mainly US

If you take/call the roll, you read aloud the names of all the people on the list to make certain that they are present:

The teacher called the roll to see if any students were absent.

roll noun (MOVEMENT)

[ C ] an act of rolling on the ground:

The dog went for a roll in the grass.
a roll in the hay humorous

sexual activity that is quick and enjoyable and does not involve serious feelings:

I wouldn't sacrifice my marriage for a roll in the hay with a waitress.

[ U ] The roll of a ship or aircraft is its movement from side to side in the water or air.


(Definition of “roll” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“roll” in American English

See all translations


us /roʊl/

roll verb (MOVE)

[ I/T ] to move in a direction by turning over and over or by traveling on wheels, or to cause something to move in this way:

[ I ] The coin rolled off the table.
[ T ] I rolled the spare tire around to the side of the car.
[ I ] Tears rolled down his cheeks.
Bob rolled over (= turned his body while lying down) onto his stomach.

[ I/T ] If you roll a car window up or down, you turn a handle or press a button that opens or closes the window.


[ T ] to form something soft into a rounded shape:

He rolled the clay into a ball.
[ M ] She rolled up her pants so they wouldn’t get wet.

roll verb (SOUND)

[ I/T ] to make a continuous repeated sound:

[ I ] Thunder rolled in the distance.


us /roʊl/

roll noun (LIST)

[ C ] an official list of names:

a roll of eligible voters

roll noun (BREAD)

roll noun (MOVEMENT)

[ C/U ] the movement of something in a direction by turning over and over or by traveling on wheels:

[ C ] You have to allow for the roll of the ball when it lands after you hit it.

roll noun (SOUND)

roll noun (ROUNDED SHAPE)

[ C ] a long piece of something that bends, formed into a cylinder:

a roll of film/ tape/aluminum foil

[ C ] A roll is also a rounded mass of something:

rolls of fat


(Definition of “roll” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“roll” in Business English

See all translations


uk /rəʊl/ us
roll off the assembly/production line

to be produced in a factory:

The new vehicles roll off the assembly line in August.
The company's first locally made vehicle will roll off the production line within a year.

(Definition of “roll” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)