v. & n.
v. 1 a intr. move or go in some direction by turning over and over on an axis (the ball rolled under the table; a barrel started rolling). b tr. cause to do this (rolled the barrel into the cellar). 2 tr. make revolve between two surfaces (rolled the clay between his palms). 3 a intr. (foll. by along, by, etc.) move or advance on or (of time etc.) as if on wheels etc. (the bus rolled past; the pram rolled off the pavement; the years rolled by). b tr. cause to do this (rolled the tea trolley into the kitchen). c intr. (of a person) be conveyed in a vehicle (the farmer rolled by on his tractor). 4 a tr. turn over and over on itself to form a more or less cylindrical or spherical shape (rolled a newspaper). b tr. make by forming material into a cylinder or ball (rolled a cigarette; rolled a huge snowball). c tr. accumulate into a mass (rolled the dough into a ball). d intr. (foll. by into) make a specified shape of itself (the hedgehog rolled into a ball). 5 tr. flatten or form by passing a roller etc. over or by passing between rollers (roll the lawn; roll pastry; roll thin foil). 6 intr. & tr. change or cause to change direction by rotatory movement (his eyes rolled; he rolled his eyes). 7 intr. a wallow, turn about in a fluid or a loose medium (the dog rolled in the dust). b (of a horse etc.) lie on its back and kick about, esp. in an attempt to dislodge its rider. 8 intr. a (of a moving ship, aircraft, or vehicle) sway to and fro on an axis parallel to the direction of motion. b walk with an unsteady swaying gait (they rolled out of the pub). 9 a intr. undulate, show or go with an undulating surface or motion (rolling hills; rolling mist; the waves roll in). b tr. carry or propel with such motion (the river rolls its waters to the sea). 10 a intr. (of machinery) start functioning or moving (the cameras rolled; the train began to roll). b tr. cause (machinery) to do this. 11 intr. & tr. sound or utter with a vibratory or trilling effect (words rolled off his tongue; thunder rolled in the distance; he rolls his rs). 12 US sl. a tr. overturn (a car etc.). b intr. (of a car etc.) overturn. 13 tr. US throw (dice). 14 tr. sl. rob (esp. a helpless victim).
n. 1 a rolling motion or gait; undulation (the roll of the hills). 2 a a spell of rolling (a roll in the mud). b a gymnastic exercise in which the body is rolled into a tucked position and turned in a forward or backward circle. c (esp. a roll in the hay) colloq. an act of sexual intercourse or erotic fondling. 3 the continuous rhythmic sound of thunder or a drum. 4 Aeron. a complete revolution of an aircraft about its longitudinal axis. 5 a a cylinder formed by turning flexible material over and over on itself without folding (a roll of carpet; a roll of wallpaper). b a filled cake or pastry of similar form (fig roll; sausage roll). 6 a a small portion of bread individually baked. b this with a specified filling (ham roll). 7 a more or less cylindrical or semicylindrical straight or curved mass of something (rolls of fat; a roll of hair). 8 a an official list or register (the electoral roll). b the total numbers on this (the schools' rolls have fallen). c a document, esp. an official record, in scroll form. 9 a cylinder or roller, esp. to shape metal in a rolling-mill. 10 Archit. a a moulding of convex section. b a spiral scroll of an Ionic capital. 11 US & Austral. money, esp. as banknotes rolled together. be rolling colloq. be very rich. be rolling in colloq. have plenty of (esp. money). on a roll US sl. experiencing a bout of success or progress; engaged in a period of intense activity. roll back US cause (esp. prices) to decrease. roll-back n. a reduction (esp. in price). roll bar an overhead metal bar strengthening the frame of a vehicle (esp. in racing) and protecting the occupants if the vehicle overturns. roll-call a process of calling out a list of names to establish who is present. rolled gold gold in the form of a thin coating applied to a baser metal by rolling. rolled into one combined in one person or thing. rolled oats oats that have been husked and crushed. roll in arrive in great numbers or quantity. rolling barrage = creeping barrage. rolling drunk swaying or staggering from drunkenness. rolling-mill a machine or factory for rolling metal into shape. rolling-pin a cylinder for rolling out pastry, dough, etc. rolling-stock 1 the locomotives, carriages, or other vehicles, used on a railway. 2 US the road vehicles of a company. rolling stone a person who is unwilling to settle for long in one place. rolling strike industrial action through a series of limited strikes by consecutive groups. roll-neck (of a garment) having a high loosely turned-over neck. roll of honour a list of those honoured, esp. the dead in war. roll on v.tr. 1 put on or apply by rolling. 2 (in imper.) colloq. (of a time, in eager expectation) come quickly (roll on Friday!). roll-on (attrib.) (of deodorant etc.) applied by means of a rotating ball in the neck of the container.
n. a light elastic corset. roll-on roll-off (of a ship, a method of transport, etc.) in which vehicles are driven directly on at the start of the voyage and off at the end of it. roll over 1 send (a person) sprawling or rolling. 2 Econ. finance the repayment of (maturing stock etc.) by an issue of new stock. roll-over n. 1 Econ. the extension or transfer of a debt or other financial relationship. 2 colloq. the overturning of a vehicle etc. roll-top desk a desk with a flexible cover sliding in curved grooves. roll up 1 colloq. arrive in a vehicle; appear on the scene. 2 make into or form a roll. 3 Mil. drive the flank of (an enemy line) back and round so that the line is shortened or surrounded. roll-up (or roll-your-own) n. a hand-rolled cigarette. roll up one's sleeves see SLEEVE. strike off the rolls debar (esp. a solicitor) from practising after dishonesty etc. rollable adj.
[ ME f. OF rol(l)er, rouler, ro(u)lle f. L rotulus dimin. of rota wheel ]