one of the round things under a car, bus, bicycle etc that turns when it moves
on a vehicleTT
a trolley on wheels
two-wheeled/three-wheeled/four-wheeled (=having two, three etc wheels)
a three-wheeled car
two-wheeler/three-wheeler (=a bicycle with two or three wheels)
the round piece of equipment that you turn to make a car, ship etc move in a particular direction ➔ steering wheel
for controlling a vehicleTT [usually singular]
Shall I take the wheel (=drive instead of someone else)?
a flat round part in a machine that turns round when the machine operates:
in a machineTEM
a gear wheel
the way in which a complicated organization, system etc works:
We hope that the next government will do more to keep the wheels of industry turning (=help it to work smoothly and easily).
oil/grease the wheels (of something) (=help something to work more smoothly and easily)
The money people spend at Christmas oils the wheels of the economy.
the way in which things change in life, or in which the same things seem to happen again after a period of time:
We are powerless to stop the wheel of history.
Do you like my new wheels?
used to say that a situation is complicated and difficult to understand because it involves processes and decisions that you know nothing about
to make a particular process start:
It only took one phone call to set the wheels in motion.
an important person:
He became a big wheel in the East India Company.