Topic: WATER

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: ROLL1


2 noun
roll2 [countable]

paper/film/money etc

CF 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


DF 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)

list of names

an official list of names [= 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

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.


DG the action of throwing dice as part of a game:
If you get a 7 or 11 on your first roll, you win.


a thick layer of skin or fat, usually just below your waist
roll of
the rolls of fat on her stomach

physical movement

a) DS 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 [= 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


a long low fairly loud sound made by drums etc:
There was a roll of thunder, and the rain started pelting down.


TTWTTA the movement of a ship or plane when it leans from side to side with the movement of the water or air

a roll in the hay

old-fashioned informal when you have sex with someone - used humorously

Explore WATER Topic