Meaning of ROLL in English

I. roll 1 S1 W2 /rəʊl $ roʊl/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ roll , ↑ unroll ; noun : ↑ roll , ↑ roller ; adjective : ↑ rolling ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: roller , from Vulgar Latin rotulare , from Latin rotula ; ⇨ ↑ roll 2 ]

1 . ROUND OBJECT [intransitive always + adverb/preposition, transitive] if something rolls, especially something round, or if you roll it, it moves along a surface by turning over and over

roll down/into/through etc

The ball rolled into the street.

One of the eggs rolled off the counter.

roll something along/in/onto etc something

Roll the chicken breasts in flour.

2 . PERSON/ANIMAL [intransitive, transitive always + adverb/preposition] ( also roll over ) to turn your body over one or more times while lying down, or to turn someone else’s body over

roll down/onto/off etc

The children rolled down the hill, laughing.

Ralph rolled onto his stomach.

roll somebody onto/off something

I tried to roll him onto his side.

3 . SHAPE OF TUBE/BALL [transitive] ( also roll up ) to make something into the shape of a tube or ball

roll something into a ball/tube

Roll the dough into small balls.

Would you like the paper rolled or folded?

4 . MAKE SOMETHING FLAT [transitive] to make something flat by rolling something heavy over it ⇨ rolling pin :

Pizza dough should be rolled thinly.

5 . CLOTHES [transitive] ( also roll up ) to fold the sleeves or legs of something that you are wearing upwards, so that they are shorter:

His sleeves were rolled above his elbows.

6 . SOMETHING WITH WHEELS [intransitive, transitive always + adverb/preposition] to move on wheels, or make something that has wheels move

roll into/forwards/past etc

Her car was slowly rolling away from the curb.

roll something to/around etc something

The waitress rolled the dessert trolley over to our table.

7 . DROP OF LIQUID [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to move over a surface smoothly without stopping

roll down/onto etc

Tears rolled down her cheeks.

8 . WAVES/CLOUDS [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to move continuously in a particular direction

roll into/towards etc

Mist rolled in from the sea.

We watched the waves rolling onto the beach.

9 . GAME [intransitive and transitive] if you roll ↑ dice , you throw them as part of a game

10 . SOUND [intransitive] if drums or ↑ thunder roll, they make a long low series of sounds:

Thunder rolled in the distance.

11 . MACHINE/CAMERA [intransitive] if a machine such as a film camera or a ↑ printing press rolls, it operates:

There was silence as the cameras started to roll.

12 . SHIP/PLANE [intransitive] if a ship or plane rolls, it leans one way and then another with the movement of the water or air

13 . CIGARETTE [transitive] to make your own cigarette, using tobacco or ↑ marijuana and special paper ⇨ roll-up :

Ben rolled a joint (=a cigarette containing marijuana) and lit it.

It’s cheaper to roll your own (=make your own cigarettes) .

14 . SHOULDERS [transitive] to move your shoulders forward, up, and back down:

He rolled his shoulders back.

15 . EYES [transitive] to move your eyes around and up, especially in order to show that you are annoyed or think something is silly:

Lucy rolled her eyes as Tom sat down beside her.

16 . ATTACK [transitive] American English informal to rob someone, especially when they are drunk and asleep:

Kids on the streets rolled drunks for small change.

17 . (all) rolled into one if someone or something is several different things rolled into one, they include or do the work of all those things:

Mum was cook, chauffeur, nurse, and entertainer all rolled into one.

18 . get (something) rolling to start happening or make something start happening in a smooth and successful way:

The business didn’t really get rolling until 1975.

Have a good breakfast to get your day rolling.

19 . be rolling in money/dough/cash/it to have or earn a lot of money:

‘He’s rolling in it,’ said the girl, pointing at Lewis.

20 . be rolling in the aisles if people in a theatre, cinema etc are rolling in the aisles, they are laughing a lot

21 . be ready to roll spoken to be ready to start doing something:

The car was packed and we were ready to roll.

22 . let’s roll spoken used to suggest to a group of people that you all begin doing something or go somewhere

23 . roll with the punches to deal with problems or difficulties by doing whatever you need to do, rather than by trying only one method:

Strong industries were able to roll with the punches during the recession.

24 . roll on something British English spoken used to say that you wish a time or event would come quickly:

Roll on the weekend!

25 . roll your r’s to pronounce the sound /r/ using your tongue in a way that makes the sound very long

26 . a rolling stone gathers no moss used to say that someone who often changes jobs, moves to different places etc is not able to have any permanent relationships or duties

⇨ set/start/keep the ball rolling at ↑ ball 1 (5), ⇨ heads will roll at ↑ head 1 (36), ⇨ let the good times roll at ↑ let 1 (20)

• • •


▪ push to make something or someone move by pressing them with your hands, arms etc:

Push the door, don’t pull it.


She pushed him away and walked out.

▪ shove to push someone or something in a rough or careless way:

People were shoving to get to the front of the queue.


Tom shoved his suitcase under the bed.

▪ stuff informal to push something quickly and carelessly into a small space:

She stuffed a few clothes into a bag and left.

▪ poke to push someone or something with your finger or something sharp:

I poked the snake with a stick but it was dead.

▪ nudge to push someone beside you gently with your elbow to get their attention:

Toby nudged me and pointed out of the window.

▪ roll to push something round or something on wheels so that it moves forward:

They rolled the logs down the hill.


The car still didn’t start so we tried to roll it off the road.

▪ wheel to push something with wheels, for example a bicycle or a ↑ trolley , so that it moves forward, while guiding it with your hands:

Rob wheeled his bike round the back of the house.

roll around ( also roll round British English ) phrasal verb

if a time, event etc that happens regularly rolls around, it arrives or takes place again:

By the time Wednesday rolled around, I still hadn’t finished.

roll something ↔ back phrasal verb

1 . to reduce the influence or power of a law, system, government etc:

a threat to roll back the legislation of the past 12 years

2 . especially American English to reduce a price, cost etc:

the administration’s promise to roll back taxes

⇨ ↑ rollback

3 . to force your opponents in a war to move back from their position

4 . roll back the years British English to make someone remember something from the past:

Looking at those old photos really rolled back the years.

roll something ↔ down phrasal verb

1 . roll a window down to open a car window

2 . to unfold the ends of your sleeves or trouser legs so that they are their usual length:

He rolled down his sleeves and buttoned the cuffs.

roll in phrasal verb

1 . to happen or arrive in large numbers or quantities:

As the result of our appeal, the money came rolling in.

2 . to arrive, especially later than usual or expected:

Chris finally rolled in at about 4:00 am.

3 . if mist, clouds etc roll in, they begin to cover an area of the sky or land:

Fog rolled in from the sea.

roll out phrasal verb

1 . roll something ↔ out to make food that you are preparing flat and thin by pushing a ↑ rolling pin over it:

Roll out the dough on a floured surface.

2 . roll something ↔ out to make a new product available for people to buy or use SYN launch :

The company expects to roll out the new software in September.

⇨ ↑ roll-out

3 . to leave a place, especially later than expected

roll out of

We used to hear people rolling out of the pubs at closing time.

He finally rolled out of bed at noon.

4 . roll something ↔ out to put something flat on the ground or a surface, when it was previously rolled into a tube shape:

We rolled out our sleeping bags under the stars.

5 . roll out the red carpet to make special preparations for an important visitor

roll (somebody) over phrasal verb

to turn your body over once so that you are lying in a different position, or to turn someone’s body over:

Ben rolled over and kissed her.

roll (somebody) over onto

The guards rolled him over onto his front.

roll up phrasal verb

1 . to make something into the shape of a tube or ball, or to become this shape

roll something ↔ up

Painters arrived and rolled up the carpet.

roll up into

Many animals roll up into a ball for warmth.

2 . roll your sleeves/trousers etc up to turn the ends of your sleeves or trouser legs over several times so that they are shorter

3 . roll your sleeves up to start doing a job even though it is difficult or you do not want to do it:

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get some work done on the basics.

4 . roll a window up to close the window of a car

5 . to arrive somewhere, especially late or when you were not expected:

Max rolled up just after 9 o'clock.

6 . roll up! British English spoken used to call people to come and watch or buy things at a ↑ circus or ↑ fair

II. roll 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ roll , ↑ unroll ; noun : ↑ roll , ↑ roller ; adjective : ↑ rolling ]

[ Sense 1-3, 6: Date: 1100-1200 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: rolle 'rolled-up document' , from Latin rotula , from rota ; ⇨ ↑ rotate ]

[ Sense 4-5, 7-10: Date: 1600-1700 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ roll 1 ]

1 . PAPER/FILM/MONEY ETC a piece of paper, camera film, money etc that has been rolled into the shape of a tube

roll of

I used up three rolls of film on holiday.

There’s a new roll of silver foil in there.

wallpaper costing £3 a roll

⇨ ↑ kitchen roll , ↑ toilet roll

2 . BREAD a small round ↑ loaf of bread for one person ⇨ bun :

hot soup served with crusty rolls

bread rolls with butter

ham/cheese etc roll British English (=one that is filled with ham, cheese etc)

3 . LIST OF NAMES an official list of names SYN register

on the roll British English :

a school with 300 pupils on the roll

call/take the roll (=say the list of names to check who is there)

The teacher called the roll.

Three senators missed the roll call.

the electoral roll British English the (voter) rolls American English (=a list of the people who are allowed to vote)

welfare rolls American English (=a list of people without jobs who claim money from the state)

Thompson said he had cut welfare rolls by 39%.

⇨ ↑ roll of honour , ↑ honor roll

4 . be on a roll informal to be having a lot of success with what you are trying to do:

Midvale High was on a roll, having won their last six basketball games.

5 . GAME the action of throwing ↑ dice as part of a game:

If you get a 7 or 11 on your first roll, you win.

6 . SKIN/FAT a thick layer of skin or fat, usually just below your waist

roll of

the rolls of fat on her stomach


a) British English a movement in which you roll forward or back in a controlled way with your body curled so that your head is near your feet, often done as part of a sport SYN somersault :

a forward roll

gymnasts doing rolls and handsprings

b) especially British English the action of turning your body over one or more times while lying down:

a young horse having a roll in the field

8 . DRUMS/GUNS/THUNDER a long low fairly loud sound made by drums etc:

There was a roll of thunder, and the rain started pelting down.

a drum roll

9 . SHIP/PLANE the movement of a ship or plane when it leans from side to side with the movement of the water or air

10 . a roll in the hay old-fashioned informal when you have sex with someone – used humorously

⇨ ↑ rock 'n' roll , ↑ sausage roll , ↑ spring roll , ↑ Swiss roll

• • •


▪ record information about something that is written down:

your medical records


the public records office


I have to keep a record of all my spending when I’m travelling on business.

▪ file a set of written records, or information stored on a computer under a particular name:

He began reading the file on the case.


I think I may have accidentally deleted the file.

▪ accounts ( also books informal ) an exact record of the money that a company has received and spent:

Companies are required by law to publish their annual accounts.


Someone had been falsifying the accounts.


The company’s books all seemed to be in order.

▪ ledger one of the official books in which a company’s financial records are kept, which show how much it has received and spent:

The costs have been moved from one column of the ledger to another.

▪ minutes an official written record of what is said and decided at a meeting:

Both points are mentioned in the minutes of the last meeting on August 3rd.

▪ diary a book in which you regularly write down the things that have happened to you:

In his diary he wrote, ‘It s lovely having him here, we’ve had so many cosy talks.’


I’ll just check in my diary to see if I’m free.

▪ blog a web page on the Internet on which someone regularly writes about their life, opinions, or a particular subject:

I may not always agree with David, but I always read his blog.

▪ register an official list of names of people, organizations etc:

Guests must sign the hotel register.


the national register of births, deaths, and marriages


Lloyds Register of Shipping

▪ roll an official list of names, especially of people who are allowed to do something such as vote or be in a class at school:

the electoral roll (=list of people who can vote in an area)


The teacher called the roll (=read out the list of the names of the students, who then have to say if they are present) .

▪ log an official record that is kept on a ship or plane:

Mr Appleby said he complained to a senior officer, who made a note in the ship’s log.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.