From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishwheelwheel1 /wiːl/ ●●● S2 W3 noun [countable] 1 on a vehicleTT one of the round things under a car, bus, bicycle etc that turns when it movesfront/rear/back wheels The car slid sideways, its rear wheels spinning. → four-wheel drive2 for controlling a vehicleTTDRIVE [usually singular] the round piece of equipment that you turn to make a car, ship etc move in a particular directionat/behind the wheel (=driving a car) The driver must have fallen asleep at the wheel. Shall I take the wheel (=drive instead of someone else)? → steering wheel3 in a machineTEM a flat round part in a machine that turns round when the machine operates a gear wheel4 → the wheels of something5 → the wheel of fortune/life/time etc6 → (set of) wheels7 → wheels within wheels8 → set the wheels in motion/set the wheels turning9 → the wheels come off something10 → a/the big wheel → put your shoulder to the wheel at shoulder1(8), → put a spoke in somebody’s wheel at spoke2(2), → reinvent the wheel at reinvent(3)COLLOCATIONSadjectivesthe front wheelTurn your front wheels in the direction of the skid.the back/rear wheelThe rear wheels of the bus got stuck in a creek.verbsa wheel turns/goes aroundThe wheels went slowly around.a wheel spins (=turns around quickly, when the vehicle is not going along)The rear wheels spun in the sand.phrasesthe spokes of a wheel (=the thin metal bars that connect the outer ring of a wheel to the centre, especially on a bicycle wheel)
Examples from the Corpuswheel• A big wheel in local government.• The real danger to the mountain vegetation comes not from cycle wheels but from acid rain and global warming.• Outside, a dozen gleaming Harleys were parked in a row, backed in, wheels cut to the left, identical.• As soon as they were taken from shelter, they began to slide on locked wheels over the yard, and then to tilt.• I missed the slower trains with the lounge cars and the rackety wheels.• I let myself droop against the steering wheel.• By Easter 1991 the above were well on the way, and the wheels had also been fitted.• Locomotives weighing thirty or forty tons caused havoc where wheel met rail, iron rails sometimes needing replacement every two years.at/behind the wheel• When you are behind the wheel, your most important responsibility is safe driving.• With Chancellor at the wheel, they had left enfamille to do the shopping.• After thirty minutes I went outside, opened the door of the Falcon and sat down behind the wheel.• He decided to wait, watching as the driver switched off the engine and slid from behind the wheel.• Jack tipped him five and got behind the wheel of his Lincoln, which he was buying on time.• Sweating with fear, Lepine dashed along the verandah and flung himself behind the wheel of the Citron.• Elizabeth was slaughtered at the wheel of her boyfriend's four-wheel-drive truck as she desperately tried to escape.